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I-66 drivers discover E-ZPass Flex transponders are not so easy to find

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Aside from the turkeys, E-ZPass transponders have been the hot item at the grocery stores in recent weeks.

“This opens up an option of people being able to go on 66 who couldn’t,” said Carl Tierney, who drives on Interstate 66 in the HOV lanes.

Drivers who are alone will get to use I-66 inside the Beltway during rush hour starting on Monday.

But they need an E-ZPass and they will be charged a toll based on traffic volume.

Those who have a passenger will use the E-ZPass Flex to ride for free.

“There’s probably a lot of people cheating there,” said Tierney.

Tierney’s Flex Pass is ready to take a ride, but others are showing up at stores and learning they’ve run out.

We stopped by several Giant stores in Arlington. They’re having trouble keeping up with the demand for the E-ZPass Flex. The one on Lee Highway says they’ll have more in later this week.

The Giant location on 9th Road has them in.

The Wegmans store in Alexandria, which is farther from the 9-mile stretch of 66, is stocked but they’re a hot item.

“About two months ago, we were ordering them probably twice a month. We’re now putting an order in every week,” said Mike Anthony, a DC-area manager for Wegmans.

You’ll need the pass to drive legally during the expanded rush hour, which runs from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. eastbound into the city and from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. heading west back out to the Beltway.

“I think it’s going to increase traffic inside the Beltway,” said Tierney.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says they are close to running out at stores in Fairfax and DC.

At one Fairfax store, AAA sold 82 E-ZPass Flex transponders so far this November, compared to eight of them this time last year.

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