How to take the I-495 Express Lanes without an E-Z Pass

The new I-495 Express Lanes (also known as HOT lanes, for High Occupancy Toll) on the Capital Beltway opened in mid-November 2012.  For those paying attention, there has been a lot of information about what they are.  Importantly, they have been making the point that one MUST have an E-Z Pass to travel on the lanes (or an E-Z Pass Flex for travelers who want to travel free with 3 or more passengers - see my critical post about this policy).

In fact, this E-Z Pass requirement has been made so strongly that numerous crashes occurred at the southern entry point caused by drivers trying to get out of the Express lanes, because they did not have an E-Z Pass.

However, less well publicized is the fact that one can use the Express lanes without an E-Z Pass for a slight additional charge.  There is a "Missed a Toll?" link on the Express Lanes website where one may pay the toll on-line.  There is a $1.50 administrative fee added to the toll as long as you pay within five days.  Certainly that's a small amount to pay to avoid a crash.  It may even be a reasonable amount to pay if stuck in interminable traffic.