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Cashless tolls

sheffield england
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Cashless tolls

I have been reading on some posts from a while ago about 'cashless' tolls on Florida roads. I haven't been to Florida for a couple of years and these cashless tolls are new to me. Can it possibly be that you end up driving along a road and somehow accidentally come upon a toll for which you can't pay because you need a sunpass which you don't have because you never knew you needed one??? It seems most odd to me. I understand that some of the unmanned ones require change and the paypoint means pulling off the main highway, the approach to a toll booth is always clearly marked well ahead of time, but what does one do if you arrive at the toll booth with no facility at all to pay and no sunpass. We will be doing a bit of travelling around Florida this spring in a rental car and frankly don't feel inclined to buy the rental company toll in advance because it's a rip off, but at the same time don't want to end up arriving at a toll with no facility to pay it and getting fined by the rental company. We are renting from Thrifty. Is there a map available which shows all the Florida roads where there are cashless tolls so that we can avoid them. As well as Orlando we are driving to Fort Lauderdale, and from there onto Fort Myers via Alligator Alley. We are arriving at Orlando International and some of the posts suggest that there is one just leaving the airport, or was that a pay cash one that was missed. I was a bit confused here as we have flown into Orlando Airport several times and have only ever seen tolls where there is a facility to pay.

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Bedfordshire England
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174 posts
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1. Re: Cashless tolls

The cashless tolls are currently only around South Florida, on the Homestead Extension and also around Miami itself (in Miami-Dade County only). There are no cashless tolls outside of Miami-Dade County at present. If you are going to be driving around Orlando there are cash booths on all of the toll roads. You will also be OK to use cash from Ft Lauderdale to I75 Alligator Alley around the Sawgrass Expressway toll if you want to go that way to where I75 turns West and Alligator Alley starts. The maps of the cashless tolls are at: floridasturnpike.com/all-electronictolling/t…

Maps of the whole system are at: www.floridasturnpike.com/about_system.cfm

sheffield england
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2. Re: Cashless tolls

That's useful thank you. We will also be in St Petersburg and Tampa and from an article I have picked up it appears that the Lee Roy Selmon expressway in Tampa is now cashless. You would have thought that the car rental companies would provide information but of course they want to sell you a pre-paid package of around $7 a day depending on the company. Which is outrageous. I defy anyone on a normal holiday to run up $7 a day worth of tolls. Of course the alternative, as they well know, is risking accidentally getting onto one of these cashless toll roads and having no alternative but to go through without paying, or not having the necessary change etc for the unmanned ones. Then they can 'fine' you anything up to $25 a time for each violation. Something else to get you to pay for on top of everything else. Given that the US economy is still fragile (to say the least), and many areas depend on tourism, creating extra expenses and traps for unwary travellers seems rather self defeating to me. And this comes from a long standing lover of the country and someone who has been travelling there on a regular basis for 30+ years!!! I realise that tolls in Europe are excessive as well, but at least you get the opportunity to pay when you encounter one!

Bedfordshire England
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3. Re: Cashless tolls

Never thought about that one, sorry - you are right, it went cashless in 2010. I suspect all the Florida tolls will go that way eventually if the ones they have around Miami work out OK - must save a fortune in manpower costs. And although tourists and out-of-state cars can use the transponders, there is still the chance with rental cars that it might miss one and that extra $25 "Admin" charge will be put on the card after you get home!

Of course, the alternative is to raise the charges so high that credit cards become worthwhile to pay, like the M6 Toll has done - some of their exits are now unmanned and you have to either use the cash bins or pay by credit card! And they have cunningly set the charges just below whole numbers of pounds so that from those without change they can get a few more pennies for nothing - don't you just love "Rip-Off Britain"???

Tampa, Florida
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4. Re: Cashless tolls

The Lee Roy Selmon in Tampa is strictly a commuters toll road. Visitors have absolutely no reason to be on that road. If you're going to St. Pete from Orlando you'll be using I-4 then I-275. Using the Selmon is going out of your way to get to it.

If you want to play it safe and use the rental car's transponder rent from the ones that charge only $2/day plus the toll and only charge that fee on the days you use a toll road.

Edited: 12:03 pm, January 28, 2012
Bedfordshire England
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5. Re: Cashless tolls

I have also just noticed that I95 has got some toll sections on it that are separated by cones from the rest of the road and these are cashless because the toll rates actually change depending on how congested the road becomes. Mind you, they can be avoided by just going along the non-toll lanes.

sheffield england
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858 posts
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6. Re: Cashless tolls

Sadly, we have already booked our car rental, two separate rental periods (with a cruise in between), for which it would appear that we will end up paying almost $80. Yes, we have booked (without realising) with the most expensive - Thrifty/Dollar. I have found a toll calculator (can't now remember the website, probably the sunpass one, have looked at quite a few over the past hour or so), and knowing roughly where we will be travelling, our toll costs add up to about $25. I have looked at the sunpasses and can't quite grasp how these work, from what I can see you buy these, either a mini one for $4.99, or one that you can move from car to car for $25, but then it would appear that you have to load them with at least $10. Is the $4.99 and $25 just the cost for having it, or do you then get your cash load, plus what you have paid to use for tolls. It doesn't quite make it clear. I know you have to activate these and it takes a day or so to get them up and running which wouldn't be too much of a problem as the only toll we are likely to use the first day or so would be the one on the 528 after leaving the airport. Contrary to how it may appear, I don't, and have never, minded especially paying the tolls to get a quicker journey, and have got quite used to making sure we have cash to pay them, but what I do mind is inadvertently approaching a toll with no means to pay. Hopefully they will not have rolled this out any further by the time we arrive in March. If I can assure myself that the only cashless ones are easily avoided we will probably do what we have always done and pay cash.

london
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127 posts
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7. Re: Cashless tolls

theoldgits

I too have hired a car with Dollar and shared the same concerns as you. I phoned Dollar in USA and was told that the pre pay toll charges are optional and that you can use a sunpass mini. i also emailed sunpass to ask how long registration takes and was told up to 24 hours by internet but immediatly if you phoned before 7pm.

Hope this helps

Tampa, Florida
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8. Re: Cashless tolls

For anyone opting out of using the rental car's toll transponder ask them to turn it off and watch that they do so. There have been a few reports in the forum where visitors have been charged twice for the same toll. And you are not aware of the charge by the rental company until you return home and get your credit card statement. By then you may have forgotten which tolls you've been through.

london
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9. Re: Cashless tolls

AhHah

I have seen previous posts that say rental companies are charged by " toll by plate" would this render transponders worthless?

Tampa, Florida
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10. Re: Cashless tolls

It means there is no need for the transponders but gives the rental company the excuse to charge visitors more for using that method. And just like using their transponders I'm sure the fee for using the "toll by plate" method varies widely among the companies.

See if this website says what the "toll by plate" method costs visitors in rental cars: www.sunpass.com