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tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

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tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

Just a heads up. Got a credit card charge from rental car company over a month after returning a rental car in FL. Turns out in Tampa on the Selmon Crosstown Expressway, there is now NO way to pay cash for the toll. If you don't have a transponder or a "we bill you" account set up (which I don't believe is possible in a rental situation), your license plate is photographed and the bill sent along to the rental company. (The charge from the rental car company was the $1.50 toll plus a $25 fee) This was assuredly NOT explained to us when renting the car and NOT clearly marked on the expressway.

The Thrify rep said that all of FL is going cashless tolls in the near future. Will have to figure out what to do when next visit to FL comes along.

85 replies to this topic
posts: 787
reviews: 43
1. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

What do we do when we arrive in July for 14 days. Landing at Sanford and driving to Sarasota for 6 days then over to Miami and then up to Orlando. will we get the chance to buy a Sun Pass at Dollar in Sanford ???

Bradenton, Florida
Destination Expert
for Bradenton, Anna Maria Island
posts: 5,429
reviews: 29
2. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

Check with your car rental company. They have a set fee (about $10/week) for a transponder, then you will also pay any applicable tolls. Lots cheaper than a fine for each time you use the system.

Destination Expert
for Florida
posts: 39,543
reviews: 21
3. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

The previous post is incorrect. Some companies inlc Dollar charge a lot for cashless tolls. $37 per week. plus tax. Some charge less. You need to chekc this before you choose your company. Dollar and Alamo are mot often used by UK brokers, and Alamo are better in this respect.

Most companies charge less. Even 'expensive companies like Avis and Hertz. As a Dollar express member hwo has booked 7 car rentals in 2 years with them I can say I have protested and will not use them in future when I have to go cashless in my area (no cashless on sunshine skyway yet)

In any case, it was my recent knowledge that apart form Dade county and a small stretch of I95 there were no all cashless areas in the tampa area. but I do not use that expwy mentionned and don't know if it is a private expwy which means they can go cashless when they like.

Brandon, Florida
posts: 8,395
reviews: 1
4. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

Yes, the Selmon Crosstown Expressway is a cashless tollway but there are a few alternatives to avoid using it altogether. I never use that tollway. A look at a map will show the other ways.

posts: 787
reviews: 43
5. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

Ok. So if I am travelling from Sanford to Sarasota then on to Fort Lauderdale and then back up to Orlando, can i still pay cash on the toll roads ????

Destination Expert
for Florida
posts: 39,543
reviews: 21
6. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

It depends on your route.

orl to Sarasota, no cashless tolls. Sarasota- Ft L, it will depend on the route you take. Some toll roads in Dade county incl the turnpike are cashless. Consult the Miami forum for a route from Naples to Ft L w/o cashless tolls- it can be done. You can even cut across the state thru the interior- no highway really, and you go thru some small towns.

From Ftl to orlando you can pay cash for your tolls ont he FL turnpike, but the turnpike in Dade county is or has gone cashless.

Destination Expert
for Milwaukee
posts: 9,197
reviews: 62
7. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

I have been following this post with interest as I occasionally find myself wandering around Florida in a rental car. I found the Sunpass website, which has much useful information. https://www.sunpass.com/index.

They certainly downplay the cost that rental car companies will charge, basically saying if you are driving a rental car, don't worry about the tolls. They'll just add it to your bill.

I have an Illinois Toll road I Pass, which can be used on EZ Pass toll roads in other states. Hopefully they will eventually hook up with the Florida Sunpass.

Filey, United...
posts: 7
reviews: 6
8. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

Different rental company schemes are listed here:


Cocoa Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Cocoa Beach
posts: 2,343
reviews: 32
9. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

Differentiate between several non-cash programs: (1) rental car programs that charge tolls to your credit card (the card used for your rental bill), based on actual usage plus a daily or weekly service fee, (2) rental car programs that provide unlimited usage of the toll roads for a set daily or weekly fee -- as far as I know, currently with Dollar and Thrifty for use on Sun Pass roads only, and (3) inadvertently using a cashless lane and being fined or billed after the fact.

The toll roads photograph the registration plates of any vehicles that pass through the cashless lanes without having a proper transponder to charge an account. The registration number is compared to a database of rental car registration numbers, and a match bills the toll to the rental car company, which then collects it from the renter with the service fee. If the registration number isn't in the database, then a bill is sent to the owner of the vehicle, along with a fine. There are some exceptions, depending on the toll road operator.

In the Orlando area, there are two toll road operators, the Turnpike (Sun Pass) and the OOCEA (E Pass). I have an E Pass transponder, which works reciprocally with the Sun Pass. Having the transponder or a billing arrangement through a rental car company can be convenient when there are long lines at a cash toll booth, which is occurring more frequently as the operators change over to cashless and only staff a single both in some places. However, I personally wonder about the value of the unlimited use program, because it is unlikely that a typical tourist will use the toll roads enough to justify the fee, which is currently about $7 a day or $37 a week. Maybe that's best for somebody on business, who is calling on places throughout the area.

In the long run, cashless is the plan. Residents can have transponders, and rental cars can be billed. However, for those visitors who drive their own cars to Florida, there will be a windshield card with RFID circuits that can be purchased at gas stations, etc., and charged with a prepaid amount, similar to how a fare card works on mass transit (for example, Washington DC Metro or an Oyster Card in London).

Tampa, Florida
posts: 26
reviews: 21
10. Re: tampa cashless tolls-no way to pay in cash

The Sunpass transponder is inexpensive, about $5, but you do have to register it. It's readily available at grocery stores, drugstores, etc.

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