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Retail Trends

Another Reason to Sign Up for E-ZPass

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It was just a matter of time before someone figured out how to exploit one of the great advances of the late 20th century for commercial gain.

Recently launched at five Wendy’s restaurants on Staten Island, N.Y., iDriveThru uses existing E-ZPass toll tags to allow customers to move through the drive-thru line faster because they never have to reach for their wallets or stop at a payment window.

iDriveThru requires customers to link their choice of credit, debit or prepaid card to their existing toll tags. The tags are read as they approach the ordering station and customers are greeted with a personalized “Welcome to Wendy’s” message on the video monitor. Once their order has been placed, they can drive directly to the pick-up window; receipts are sent to customer smartphones.

The program is not officially connected with the MTA or interstate tolling agencies; payments will not be charged to customers’ E-ZPass accounts -- at least not for now.

Customers can also earn food discounts with the service: Each dollar spent with an E-ZPass will earn 10 points; 500 points buys $5 off the next iDriveThru order.

Four supermarket chains -- Wegmans, Price Chopper, Hannaford and Tops -- recently reached an agreement with New York State officials to allow the supermarkets to sell E-ZPass tags. Maybe they have some inside information about additional fast feeders seeking to avail themselves of iDriveThru.

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