ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Florida officials have imposed a $4.6 million fine on the company that oversaw last year’s botched SunPass conversion, and are also making internal changes to how the state’s toll-collection system is managed.
The Florida Department of Transportation announced the penalty for Conduent State & Local Solution on Friday. Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered the continued suspension of fees and penalties for SunPass and Toll-By-Plate customers until June 1.
“This is a technology issue for Conduent, but it’s a customer-service issue for citizens. I’ve been working closely with the new FDOT Secretary Kevin Thibault to ensure customers are protected and receive a premium level of service,” DeSantis said in a release.
Thibault instructed the turnpike to assess "maximum performance penalties allowed under the contract for Conduent's operational and performance deficiencies, which totals $4.6 million to date," he said in the release.
“We are directing Conduent to provide additional support to the customer service centers and the department has also added resources to help better serve our customers,” the transportation chief said. “We are committed to fixing the issues related to Conduent’s performance and we will continue to hold them accountable.”
The SunPass system conversion was supposed to last about a week and be completed last June. Instead, the system was overwhelmed by the volume as it went live, and parts of the system were down for a month, with serious issues lingering into August involving overcharges, poor website performance and unacceptable wait time at a customer call center.
Last month, state lawmakers called for transportation officials to maintain a hard financial line against Conduent. At the time, fines against the company had already reached $780,000, which included failing to meet an initial deadline to implement the upgrades.
Conduent's overall $343 million contract includes running the system for more than the next three-and-a-half years.