AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board voted on Wednesday to replace its current collections contract with a more affordable option that will require the new contractor to formally track customer service call wait and handle times.
CTRMA’s current contract that allows Municipal Services Bureau to handle payment and customer service for toll roads, like U.S. 290 and 183A, ended in January but was renewed for an additional nine months in order to transition to the new contractor, Cofiroute USA.
When reviewing contractor bids, MSB scored high when it came to technical operations, but they were last when it came to price.
Prior to approving the new 5-year, $16 million contract with Cofiroute, some board members expressed interest in passing any savings they’ll see down to their customers. When the new system goes live this fall, Irvine, California-based Cofiroute will handle Pay-by-Mail, violation processing and collections as well as customer service for CTRMA toll roads.
Design for the new partnership will take effect next month through May, followed by months of development, testing and implementation, according to a presentation to the CTRMA board on Wednesday. The new collections process will go live in November.
As part of the implementation process, CTRMA will revisit its toll collection set-up and evaluate how the new process will impact revenue. They’ll also “analyze electronic toll tag usage trends in an effort to increase toll penetration.”
CTRMA isn’t the only Central Texas tolling agency that will see changes to its collections contractors.
After a new law goes into effect on Thursday to cap toll fees for some delinquent users who use state-operated toll roads, the Texas Department of Transportation will no longer contract with its current collections agency, Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott.
Before TxDOT’s cap on fees, KXAN’s investigation in October revealed a collections agency levied nearly $1 billion in fees alone for more than 2.2 million accounts that were sent to collections between January and August 2017.
The Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees TxDOT, voted Jan. 25 to adopt a new toll fee structure, which will cap administrative fees starting March 1 at $4 per invoice and $48 for a 12-month period.
TxDOT spokesperson Veronica Beyer said earlier this year that the state agency will also no longer administer violation, collection or court fees. Last year, TxDOT collected more than $32.4 million in violation, collection and court fees.