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New York Thruway

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,697 posts
52 reviews
New York Thruway

I'm going to be in upstate New York and adjacent areas, and I'm getting antsy about the Thruway because we don't have turnpikes in California.

How does it work? Is there an electronic pass or other automated ticket to buy at the beginning of my trip and use at toll stations along the way, or do I get a ticket at the beginning and pay when I exit?

The last time I drove on a toll road was in Illinois about 10 years ago, and I was constantly hassling with finding exact change because payment was required at stations along the way. Most of them were unmanned and I didn't know if there were electronic passes.

How does it work when I get off and then back on the Thruway, for instance, in Buffalo where there are regular freeways that link segments of the Thruway?

I will be going into Pennsylvania and returning another day. Does the toll road continue over the state line? If there is a pass to buy and I don't use the entire amount, can I use it on the return trip?

Thanks for any help! I hope I'm making my questions clear enough. The only tolls we pay in California are for bridges, and there's one collection, either at the entrance or the exit.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,697 posts
52 reviews
1. Re: New York Thruway

Bump.

Help! I don't like turnpikes. Please reassure me I can survive the Thruway.

Akron, Ohio
7 posts
1 review
2. Re: New York Thruway

A Roadrunner can surely navigate a toll road without being this "antsy."

Relax. Turnpikes, toll roads or thruways are not that difficult to navigate. Whether the toll road charges at points along the route or only when you exit is dependent on the authority which manages the route. As long as you have an adequate amount of cash on hand you'll have no trouble. All the toll roads I've experienced have options for those without exact change.

I wouldn't worry about buying a pass unless you are going to become a regular user of a toll road.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,697 posts
52 reviews
3. Re: New York Thruway

Do I have to come up with change at various places along my route, or do I pick up a ticket as I enter and pay once when I exit?

I've determined that the only turnpike I'll be using is the New York Thruway, so I don't need to learn two or three systems :)

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Skopelos
Level Contributor
37,502 posts
39 reviews
4. Re: New York Thruway

Very easy and exactly as you stated....pick up ticket on entry and pay at your exit:) Enjoy!

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
50 posts
8 reviews
5. Re: New York Thruway

No worries! It's very easy. It's ok if you don't have exact change too, there are people manning the toll booths.

The toll road is only the NYS Thruway, I-90. Not sure where in PA you are going, but there is a PA Turnpike. I-90 does cross into PA if you are heading west from buffalo, but I think you only have to pay in NY.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
50 posts
8 reviews
6. Re: New York Thruway

No worries! It's very easy. It's ok if you don't have exact change too, there are people manning the toll booths.

The toll road is only the NYS Thruway, I-90. Not sure where in PA you are going, but there is a PA Turnpike. I-90 does cross into PA if you are heading west from buffalo, but I think you only have to pay in NY.

(I'm originally from Rochester, but have family in Roc & Buffalo, and have driven from Rochester to Cleveland via I-90 several times)

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,697 posts
52 reviews
7. Re: New York Thruway

Thanks to all for your help. I didn't want to end up like poor Charlie in the old Kingston Trip "Ballad of the MTA" ("the man who never returned") :))

I am only going across the small northern segment of Pennsylvania along Lake Erie to near Cleveland. I will not need the Ohio Turnpike.

As long as I'm here among local experts.... I will then turn back into NY and spend a day or more at Niagara Falls. Would it be more scenic to take SR 104 as far as Sodus, rather than the Thruway? My ultimate destination is Palmyra. From the map, there's only a slight difference in mileage, but there has got to be more to see.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,697 posts
52 reviews
8. Re: New York Thruway

Thanks to all who reassured me that the Thruway was survivable! I have been on my trip and returned. I had a marvelous time. And the Thruway did not cause any trouble :) I took side roads much of the time, not necessarily to avoid the Thruway but simply to be able to see more real towns, villages, and countryside.

After a couple days near Cleveland, I came back to Niagara Falls and was awed and delighted. It can be compared to the Grand Canyon as a majestic natural sculpture--one in stone and one in water. After my stay there, I took the Thruway to my ultimate destination, Palmyra, going beyond and doubling back on SR 96 and enjoying the villages along the way with the preserved old homes and public buildings. We don't have "villages" in California, and a home is "old" when it is about 100 years old, so I really enjoyed seeing places like Phelps, Clifton Springs, and Manchester where houses have stood since before the Revolutionary War.

In my 5 days in and around Palmyra, of course I did not use I-90. The state and rural roads were a pleasure, and I appreciated being able usually to drive at or a little below the limit to enjoy the sights and not have someone on my tail trying to rush me along. This happened even on the interstate most of the time. It's an almost unknown phenomenon in California.

One trip was on the county roads to Sodus Bay, going through Marion and Williamson on the way and along the lake to Pultneyville returning. Another was to Montezuma Wildlife Refuge and Seneca Falls. On Sunday I went to church in Fayette and came back along the north ends of Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes. All these little trips were relaxing and peaceful.

On the final leg, I stuck to SR 31 all the way through Pittsford. I looked around Rochester a bit, then decided I didn't really want my country adventure to end. So with a couple of hours to kill before going to the airport, I drove out to Spencerport and enjoyed the small town and the canal for the rest of the time. So I didn't use the Thruway all that much toward the end of my trip, but I can gladly report that it wasn't a burden and I had a terrific time in your area.

9. Re: New York Thruway

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