State plans to cut ties with SunPass vendor amid ongoing problems

Conduent to finish contract

By Adrianna Iwasinski - Investigative Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that the agency will not renew its SunPass contract with Conduent. Instead, the agency plans to rebid the contract.

First, there were the problems with backlogged tolls, questionable billing and long customer service wait times all related to last summer's SunPass system meltdown.

Now, SunPass customers have alerted News 6 about SunPass parking problems at Florida airports.
At the center of it all is state contractor Conduent.

Two weeks ago, News 6 interviewed Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault about the troubled SunPass contract with New Jersey-based Conduent.

He revealed Conduent was still not hitting all its performance benchmarks and could end up facing more than the $8.3 million in fines it currently faces.

"Their contract does allow us the opprtunity to assess more penalties if they are not meeting performance," Thibault said during the June 26 interview.

This week, News 6 learned about problems SunPass customers had parking at local airports, especially Tampa International Airport, and long lines forming when the system went down there.

One SunPass customer emailed News 6 stating he ran into a problem in early May at the Tampa International Airport, when reported malfunctions and server outages caused backups in parking garages.

"I don't plan to use SunPass for parking again anytime soon," David Bryant said.

On Wednesday, News 6 checked with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, which operates the Orlando International Airport.

An agency spokesperson said its team is meeting with FDOT and SunPass representatives about the ongoing problems its had since the system upgrade last summer. 

Carolyn Fennell, with GOAA, says at that meeting, GOAA will try to reconcile the number of billing rejections it's encountered so far, which could be as much as a $1 million.

While Tampa International Airport's parking system bills instantly, Orlando's does not.

Fennell confirms Orlando does its billing in waves or batches. 

Now GOAA is trying to figure out why it's had so many SunPass rejections and how to fix the problem. 

FDOT spokesperson Ann Howard pointed out some of the rejections could be from customers whose accounts were fine when they initially parked but who may have had insufficient funds when the batch hit. If Orlando's system billed instantly, instead of in batches, those customers with insufficient funds would be alerted immediately and would have to choose a different form of payment.

Thibault said his agency is focused on having a system that works and that is meeting the customers' needs. He said FDOT will do everything it can to make sure that happens.

He also confirmed he won't be able to cut ties with Conduent until the contract ends in 2023.

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