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Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

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Mentor, Ohio
posts: 99
reviews: 93
Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

We will be flying into Ft. Lauderdale 3/15/14 and spending Monday and Tuesday in Miami (South Beach), travelling to Key West and staying Wednesday and Thursday, then back to Ft. Lauderdale Friday night to catch an early flight back to Cleveland on Saturday.

Last year we were in Florida and on the turnpike for one exit. We had a rental car and it ended up costing almost $50 because we didn't have the device to automatically pay the $0.25 toll. Dollar rental did ask if we wanted to buy the Pass24 which was about $8 per day, but I declined because I did not think our trip was going to be over any cashless toll roads and we had the car for 8 days.

Now I'm wondering if I need to buy the Pass24 for this trip. I expect to take I95 or A1A from Lauderdale to Miami, but don't know what the toll situation is from Miami to Key West. Thanks in advance for your input.

45 replies to this topic
UK
Destination Expert
for Florida
posts: 35,568
reviews: 22
1. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

The turnpike and a few other roads in Dade county are cashless. Yes you can make the journey w/o cashless tolls if you choose your route carefully,

I have not heard of a pass24 (could be a Dollar rental term), you need to look into a Sunpass mini perhaps?

Tampa, Florida
posts: 6,100
2. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

You can avoid the Turnpike (where the cashless tolls are) by driving a mere 6 miles further west and get on to hwy 997 which is a little more scenic drive than the Turnpike. Taking 997 will also put you a mile from a popular tourist stop at a fruit stand called Robert Is Here - visitors like the fruit shakes.

Traverse City...
posts: 67
reviews: 30
3. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

997 (Krome Avenue) is OK, but no guarantee you'll avoid tolls altogether if you're running around the FLL/MIA area for that many days. It's not exactly scenic, though it does go through some interesting nursery's, tomato fields, etc (and a lot of traffic lights). The best thing to do in my opinion is check the sunpass website section on rental cars. It lists the toll policies for each rental company which vary greatly. Some charge around 7.00 for every rental day. There are 2-3 which only charge: 2.95 ONLY for the days you're incurring tolls, plus the tolls themselves. This is a good deal. We did this in the Tampa area in November and it worked great. Others will recommend buying a sunpass, loading $$ on it, registering the rental car license number................ This would work too, but it's a lot easier if you can find an affordable rental with a company that doesn't charge much.

Edited: 6:35 pm, December 18, 2013
Fort Lauderdale...
posts: 4,470
reviews: 91
4. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

https://www.sunpass.com/rentalcar

see the link above for rental car info, Dollar and Thrifty are the worst to rent from, as they offer the option to "opt out" of their programs and then charge a penalty.

More and more roads are going cashless, its very hard to beat the system, either you pay the rental car company or you spend money on your own Sunpass Transponder.

Miami, Florida
posts: 583
reviews: 7
5. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

If you're staying in SoBe, you will incur tolls on the 836 (Dolphin Expressway) as you head west to the Turnpike. Even if you did decide to go 997 (Krome Ave) down to Florida City, you will still run into some tolls on the Dolphin. DO NOT even think about taking I95 or US1 to Key West. It will be the worst mistake you can make. The best advise is what MICHbouhunter said and to check with your rental car company for their policy or just purchase a sticker transponder that affixes to your windshield. You can easily pick one up at any CVS, Walgreens or Publix which are basically on every street corner in Miami. Then, you can download the SunPass app and load $10 on directly from your phone. The app even gives you a toll calculator, etc. Good luck and have fun!!

Edited: 8:12 am, December 19, 2013
Mentor, Ohio
posts: 99
reviews: 93
6. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

Thanks for all the feedback. Just to be clear, I am not trying to avoid tolls. If I can avoid it, I just wanted to avoid roads that did not have toll booths.

I know you recommend not taking the I95 US 1 route, but if I do will I still encounter cashless tolls? We will be leaving Miami for Key West on a Thursday morning, probably around 9 or 10 am. Assuming you do not recommend that route due to traffic, but will that be a problem that time of day?

Edited: 9:45 am, December 19, 2013
Marathon, Florida
Destination Expert
for Marathon, Islamorada
posts: 10,427
reviews: 30
7. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

Yes and yes. It's a bad drive without traffic!!

If you took US 1 the entire way - no, there aren't any cashless tolls. But now you just lost a day of vacation. If you get a mini or get a rental with a good program - it's worth the couple of dollars.

Miami, Florida
posts: 583
reviews: 7
8. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

What bluewater said... Avoid US1 in Miami at all costs if your plan is to go to the Keys. I live in Miami, and I can assure you, it does not matter what day or what time, you will be in heavy traffic with about a million stop lights on US1 anywhere in Miami-Dade. Yes, you can avoid cashless tolls that way, but do you really want to be in heavy traffic for 2+ hours to travel just 30 miles? In the same amount of time you can be past Islamorada by using the Turnpike.

Edited: 10:03 am, December 19, 2013
Mentor, Ohio
posts: 99
reviews: 93
9. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

I'm convinced. I'll avoid 1 and 95 and get the sticker transponder and SunPass app for my phone. How many dollars will I need to add for the round trip Miami/Key West? We don't plan to do any driving while in Miami.

Miami, Florida
posts: 583
reviews: 7
10. Re: Are there cashless tolls from Miami to Key West?

For just the Turnpike portion of your trip it's $2 tolls to get from where the 836 ends and the Turnpike starts to FL City. Add another $1 - $2 for traveling the 836 from SoBe and you would be looking at approx $4-$5 each way. Load on $10 and you should be fine.

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