A new service called iDriveThru will allow fast-food customers to use E-ZPass tags to pay for drive-thru meals,
according to The New York Post.
Five Wendy’s restaurants in Staten Island are currently part of the program, which reads E-ZPass tags and links purchases to credit or debit card information entered online.
The program is not officially connected with the MTA or interstate tolling agencies. Payment will not be charged to customers’ E-ZPass accounts, at least for now.
The New York Post reported that tolling authorities could make up to $US150,000 a year off of transaction fees from the five Wendy’s restaurants, if they participated in the program.
“There’s a potential for revenue from the tags, and if a proposal came to us we would look at it,” PJ Wilkins of the E-ZPass Interagency Group Wilkins said to the New York Post. “But our business is tolling. That’s what we do.”
The MTA participated in a similar arrangement once before. In 2001, two McDonald’s restaurants on Long Island tried a program where purchases were deducted from E-ZPass accounts, with 15 cents of every transaction going to the MTA. The program was cut after multiple reports that E-ZPasses were being stolen to buy large quantities of food.
The new iDriveThru program has certain features that would prevent theft of the devices.
“As you’re driving away, you get a receipt right on your smartphone,” said Stephen Baclini of Rawson Food Services, the company that owns the five Wendy’s stores participating in the program.
Customers can also earn food discounts with the iDriveThru service; each dollar spent with an E-ZPass will earn 10 points, and 500 points will buy $US5 off the next iDriveThru order.
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