Getting your swag on
Local inventor makes EZ Pass beautiful
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Aug 27, 2017 | 684 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
UGLY SIGHT – EZ Pass may be convenient but Joe Montalvo, a local inventor, thinks it looks terrible on your windshield. He may have a solution for that.
UGLY SIGHT – EZ Pass may be convenient but Joe Montalvo, a local inventor, thinks it looks terrible on your windshield. He may have a solution for that.
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Joe Montalvo, a Jersey City native, isn’t really an inventor, although he has invented several projects over time.

“I’m a classic car collector,” he said. “I own quite a few cars.”

It always bugged him how ugly the Easy Pass windshield device was, and he wondered if he could do something about it.

What resulted is something he calls “EZ-Swag.”

EZ Pass allows cars to avoid delays at toll booths for highways or bridges. It usually attaches to the windshield of the car and sends a signal to a reader at the toll booth allowing the vehicle to pass, and the toll to be paid via credit card.

Montalvo, who is a minority business owner, invented an EZ-Pass disguiser, but with a really cool twist: it comes in emojis and other designs.

EZ-Swag is the first of its kind to enable drivers to add some “swag” to what has been the most “out of place” looking electronic tolling device that has become a part of their vehicle.

He said he created and patented this product to disguise the ugliness of the EZ-Pass device. Many toll gates already use the system and many highways and bridges will soon have it too.

“Many of the bridges are not going to have toll collectors,” he said. “This means that people will either get EZ-Pass or pay the full bill when they get it in the mail.”

A minority business owner originally from Jersey City, Montalvo currently oversees some of the trucking operations for Cosco, and so is very familiar with local traffic.

“We’ve even designed one of these with our logo,” he said.

A more attractive solution

The shield covers the ugly EZ Pass device with a variety of possible decorations. EZ-Swag will apply directly to the surface of your device and has been designed to completely wrap around, giving you the option to display the look you want. This includes approved logos for sports teams

An estimated 40 to 50 percent of the EZ pass devices are not displayed in the appropriate place, on the windshield, he said. They are left in the center console or in the glove compartment because they don’t give your car the look you might want.

“It is very important to have your EZ Pass device attached to your windshield,” he said. “If you leave it in your glove compartment or on your console, you just might forget it. This causes unnecessary toll violations and defeats the purpose of using it for savings and convenience.” Most importantly, you will avoid the dangers of getting into an accident as you’re going through the toll because you take your eyes off the road as try to locate your device.

“With New York doing away with tolls on the bridges, this becomes an issue,” he said.

Born and raised in Jersey City, he has invented other similar items before, such as covers for I-Pads and other personal phones, and for a time sold them via carts in 130 malls across the country.

Vicky Llerena, of Social Vibes Media, said his creation came to her firm’s notice because he is a local minority business owner and EZ Zwag is like no other product on the market.

New York City and New Jersey are expected to make it mandatory for all vehicles to register for an EzPass shortly. By the end of 2017 all toll bridges will be converted to electronic tolling. You can read about that conversion in The New York Times at http://nyti.ms/2hJz7m2.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

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