OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A lack of customer service workers taking the state’s calls for PikePass disputes and payments is one reason for delayed wait times and lack of fulfillment.

Marcus Williams, Customer Service Director with Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, said the department is budgeted for 144 employees.

Right now they have only 61 workers.

Of the current staff, 40 are considered Tier 2, meaning they have the training to take calls about payments or billing disputes.

One frustrated customer called in to KFOR about their experience with OTA.

Natalie Hughes, KFOR’s News Director, made calls to the customer service numbers listed on the ticket.

“I tried three different numbers,” said Hughes. “One was listed on the OTA website, the other one was on the statement they had sent him from PikePass and another one was a number you can call to make payments on your bill.”

With each call, Hughes was put on hold for at least 30 minutes.

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PikePass and PlatePay, image KFOR

On the last call, which had the news director on hold for 46 minutes, one employee told her she couldn’t fulfill the request.

“I asked her, ‘Is a 46 minute wait on hold pretty typical for this type of service?’ And she said ‘Yes,’ but then she told me she couldn’t help me take the payment because she hadn’t been trained on that,” said Hughes.

Williams said OTA can’t get the employment they need to keep a high number of trained workers.

“With the market, we are struggling to even get 10 in a class,” said the customer service director.

Hughes said the website had issues too.

An eight-digit code number is listed on the bill, but when you go to type it in, only five digits are allowed on the line.

Paying a partial bill or disputing a payment can only be done in person or over the phone.

With long wait times and only four physical locations statewide, Hughes understands why customers are upset.

“I was just trying to help this young man, but going through the system and staying on hold for so long, I can see why people say it is incredibly frustrating,” said Hughes.

She did note that after visiting one of the four PikePass centers, an employee was “extremely helpful.”