Texas Border Business
Pharr, Texas – Amid the backdrop of the daily commercial activity at the Pharr International Bridge, special guests Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, State Representative Armando Martinez, representatives from the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority (CCRMA), and other attendees from both sides of the border joined Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. and Pharr city officials at the Go-Live! launch event of the Bridge’s new, state-of-the-art toll system.
The Pharr International Bridge is now the first and only bridge in the country along the Texas/Mexico Border to offer interoperability with a toll road for its customers. This new and innovative toll collection system is a complete modernization of every element of the existing system, from lane equipment to the customer web access. The enhancements of the new toll collection system are truly state-of-the-art in comparison to other international bridge systems and provide the City of Pharr the ultimate customer resource management tool. Customers will be able to download transaction information and keep up-to-date records of all crossings. The new system will provide customers with complete flexibility and transparency to operate their business more effectively and securely when using the Pharr International Bridge.
“As a city, we understand how important it is to continually provide our customers with the best opportunities to be successful, in order for Pharr to remain competitive as an international port of entry,” said Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. “By implementing the latest technology, we are working to help our customers streamline their operations and more easily and effectively manage their businesses,” he continued.
The CCRMA, the entity in charge of building the new toll system, gathered a team of industry leaders to develop the first-of-its-kind complete toll system for an international bridge. The primary purpose for the partnership with CCRMA is to leverage the local expertise of the CCRMA in toll systems and create interoperability benefits for its customers traveling from the Pharr International Bridge to the Port of Brownsville via the SH 550 toll road, among many other new benefits for its customers.
“I would like to commend Mayor Hernandez and the City of Pharr for partnering with the CCRMA on this regional effort in improving the electronic toll collection system at the Pharr International bridge,” stated Frank Parker Jr., Chairman of the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority. “This was truly a regional partnership and the Rio Grande Valley needs more partnerships like this one,” he added.
The new Pharr system offers many improvements, such as:
Customer Online Web improvements
•Real-time transaction activity – customers can see their transactions throughout the day to better manage their business.
•Hassle-free credit card payments – customers pay online and immediately are emailed a proof of payment. They can even set up auto replenishment to make payments when their balances hit certain amounts.
•Fleet management – Customers can now add and remove vehicles as their business needs and schedules change, without having to visit the bridge office for these changes.
•Customized statement dates – Customers can download statements with customizable dates without having to wait for the end of the month.
•Interoperability Convenience – Customers can now travel to the Port of Brownsville and use the SH 550 toll road with their Pharr Tag and manage all of it within their Pharr account. This is the first international bridge in the State of Texas to offer this service to its customers.
Lane system improvements:
•The Pharr Bridge System now uses state of the art laser technology to not only count vehicle axles as they cross the bridge, but also measure the shape, width, height, and length of the vehicles.
•It uses photocell technology to capture both axles touching the ground and those that are lifted off the ground.
•It will have photo technology that will capture photos of every axle of a transaction to be stored in the system for easy audibility for the Pharr staff.
•It will have license plate reader technology to identify license plates of vehicles as they cross the bridge.
Pharr Internal Control Improvements:
•In a growing world of government transparency, the new toll system has much more available controls to improve the reporting of cash, check, and credit card payments
•Improved controls around cash handling and deposits
•Improved reports on customer and traffic trends
•Employee monitoring and auditability reports of all transactions
After the program, Mayor Hernandez rode a truck across the bridge, cutting the ceremonial ribbon to mark the occasion of the new toll system’s launch.