What is a cashless toll road?

Parts of the Miami-Dade county expressway system feature cashless tolling also known as Open Road Tolling (ORT) and Toll-By-Plate. As vehicle approaches a toll gantry, either a transponder is read (known as Sunpass) or the vehicle tag is captured electronically. There is no need to slow down when approaching an automated toll gantry. These are clearly labeled as SunPass/Toll-By-Plate. While this has certainly helped with traffic, it also has caused some confusion amongst visitors to Miami. This guide contains everything you need to know.

Which roads are cashless?

As of October 2013, the roads featuring cashless tolling include with more to be added in the future:

  • Florida's Turnpike Extension (SR821) between Florida City and Miramar.
  • Don Shula Expressway (SR874) between the Palmetto (SR826) and Florida's Turnpike Extension (SR821).
  • Snapper Creek Expressway (SR878) between South Dixie Highway (US1) and the Don Shula Expressway (SR874).
  • Dolphin Expressway (SR836) East and Westbound.

These tend to be the fastest routes between Miami Beach and the Greater Miami area to Homestead, Florida City, Redland, and the Florida Keys.

What if you brought your own car?

Simply drive through the gantry. Do not slow down, travel at the same highway speed. The registered owner of the vehicle will receive a bill for the toll plus a $2.50 administrative charge for that month. The toll rates are posted in advance of the toll gantry on the side of the road.

What if rent a car?

This is where it gets tricky (and sometimes surprisingly expensive). Each rental car company treats tolling differently. Some make tolling automatic, others require you to opt-in at the time of rental. If the company you rent from requires you to opt-in to the tolling scheme, be careful. If you don't opt-in and go through a cashless toll gantry or opt to use a Sunpass lane, you will incur a hefty 'administration charge' for each infraction. For all companies, you can expect an additional charge to your credit card for tolls or penalties 3-4 days after the rental.

Following is are the fees charged by the major rental car companies.  If a company is listed as opt-in, you must decide at the time of rental if you want to particpate in automatic tolling. Failing to do so can expose you to large administrative fees per infraction.

Dollar, Thrifty, Sunshine:

  • Customer must opt-in (decide) at the time of rental.
  • If renter particpates, there is a $6.99 daily fee each day of the rental wether a toll was used or not.
  • All tolls are included in the daily fee.
  • The maximum fee is $36.99 per week
  • UPDATE: Thrifty charged $45.99 per week and $8.99 per day PLUS a "Priviledge Fee" of $5.44 PLUS TAX at MIA on December 3, 2014.
  • If customer does not opt-in and a cashless gantry or SunPass lane was used, a $25.00 fee per infraction will be added at the end of the rental.

Hertz, Advantage, Avis, Budget:

  • Particpation is automatic, no descision is made at the time of rental.
  • If a renter accesses a SunPass Lane or cashless toll, the renter is charged a $2.95 per day fee plus the actual toll.
  • The daily fee is only charged on days a cashless toll or SunPass Lane is used.
  • Maximum administration fee is $14.75 per rental month.
  • Unfortunately this appears to be out of date as a 9-day rental from Hertz in MIA, with the only tolls being to get from MIA north on I95 and back south to return to MIA has just resulted in a bill for Rental Car Tolls of $42.65. Do more research!

National, Alamo, Enterprise:

  • Particpation is automatic, no descision is made at the time of rental.
  • If a renter accesses a SunPass Lane or cashless toll, the renter is charged a $2.00 per day fee plus the actual toll.
  • The daily fee is only charged on days a cashless toll or SunPass Lane is used.
  • Maximum administration fee is $6.00 per rental period.

What if you rent cars in Florida frequently or for longer periods?

  • Purchase your own Sunpass transponder online before you arrive at the airport at the following link: https://www.sunpass.com/displayPurcha..
  • If you rent cars in Florida frequently, make sure you order the portable transponder and not the sticker. The sticker is only good for one car, and if you do not intend to retrurn to Florida you may save a few bucksby opting for this.
  • If you have your own transponder, you must phone Sunpass to register the rental vehicle license plate number and your rental dates before you drive away. When you phone, make sure that you provide Sunpass with correct rental dates or this may expose you to charges from the next renter.
  • If you rent in-town, transponders and stickers can be purchased at many supermarkets, drug stores etc., Check the above website for a current list of retailers.
  • Rent your car from a rental company that does not force you to participate in their Sunpass program. The rules keep changing, so contact the rental company directly and confirm that you can opt out.