What is EZ Tag

Ez tag

Have you ever been stuck on a toll road without a pocket full of change? Digging through the car seats and trying to find some money to pay may be extremely nerve-racking. Also, it definitely causes delays at toll plazas. This is why most toll roads are now equipped with electronic toll-collection systems. One of them is E-ZPass – a system that detects and processes tolls electronically that works in several US states.

What is EZ Tag and where can you use it?

EZ Tag is an electronic toll collection system. It is issued by HCTRA – Harris County Toll Road Authority. The tag enables motorists to pay tolls without having to stop at toll booths. Since 2003, the tag can be used on all lanes of tolled roads in Texas – before, motorists were allowed to use lanes reserved exclusively for them on the HCTRA roads. The system has totally changed the way how motorists pay tolls in Houston and surrounding areas. You can just pass through toll plazas without stopping and automatically debit your account. EZ Tag significantly reduced the time spent in traffic and eliminated the need for motorists to carry cash or wait in long lines.

Each EZ Tag has the tag number – it’s a vital component of the pass. It’s usually placed on the front of the sticker, along with other relevant information such as the tag’s expiration date or issue date. There are three types of EZ Tag accounts:

  • EZ Tag is perfect for regular and occasional toll road users. You can automate payment for auto-charge using your credit card or bank account. More than one active vehicle can be added to the account.

  • EZ Tag Express. Only one active vehicle can be linked with an account. The tag can be used across all Texas toll roads. To use the account, you don’t need a transponder tag on the vehicle.

  • Bandpass. It can be used in Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Multiple active vehicles can be added to one account.

Where can you use the EZ Tag?

The system is accepted on all toll roads in Texas, including major highways, tunnels, bridges, and other infrastructure. EZ Tag is a hassle-free way to navigate Texas toll roads.

How does EZ Tag work?

The system uses RFID technology to pay tolls automatically and fully electronically. To use it, you should securely attach a sticker to your vehicle’s windshield. The sticker transmits a signal to roadside readers as the vehicle drives through a toll plaza. The signal is processed to link the car’s EZ Tag account to the toll payment. The sticker automatically debits the account, so the wait time is reduced. The entire process takes seconds to complete. Each toll transaction is recorded by the system. This includes the time, date, plaza, and toll charge of each vehicle. Also, by tracking the movement of EZ Tag transponder tags over the city, the system can generate real-time traffic information for use by the public.

Summing up, this is how the EZ Tag works:

  1. When you pass through a toll plaza, the radiofrequency field activates the transponder.

  2. The transponder tag broadcasts the signal back to the lane antenna. The information is sent from the antenna to the central database.

  3. A toll is automatically deducted from your account. The gate opens.

  4. A green light indicates that you can proceed.

How to get an EZ Tag

There are two ways to open an EZ Tag account:

  • Online. It’s probably the easiest way to open an account. You should go to the Harris County Road Authority website. After some time, you will get the EZ Tag via mail. You can also pick it up at a nearby EZ Tag store.

  • In-person. You can open an account at an EZ Tag store. You will get the EZ Tag instantly.

How much is EZ Tag

The EZ Tag account is free of charge. However, when you open an account, a prepaid toll deposit is required. There is no additional cost for up to 8 tags per account. If you want additional tags, there will be a $2 activation fee.

In the table below, you will find the complete information about prepaid toll deposits:

Number of vehicles

Prepaid deposits









What happens when the EZ pass tag is not read?

If your tag transponder is not read, you will receive an EZ tag toll violation notice. The possible reasons why toll violations occur are the following:

  • Toll evasion. It happens when you drive through an EZ Tag toll lane without a functioning and active transponder tag.

  • You don’t have an EZ Tag, and you still use the EZ Tag lane.

  • Insufficient funds on your EZ Tag account. To cover the cost of the toll, your account balance must have sufficient funds. If it doesn’t, toll transactions will automatically receive violations. Insufficient funds may be a reason for a credit card that expired or is canceled.

Your transponder tag is improperly mounted. If toll scanners can’t read your EZ Tag, it will be considered a toll violation. You should install an interior transponder tag on your upper windshield, ensuring that the arrows are pointing up. An exterior transponder should be installed in the center of the car’s front bumper, above the license plate.

Aug 03, 2023


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