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Old 08-11-2017, 12:16 AM   #1
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**** Rant - toll transponders ****

While driving through Houston I almost wound up on a transponder only tollroad. I don't have any sort of transponder so I went into mini-panic mode. Fortunately they provided a last-ditch exit that let me escape from entering the tollroad.
What's so bad about providing at least one cash lane for tolls?

Anyway, when I got home I did a little research for some sort of universal transponder I could buy for my travels across the country. Guess what? There ain't no such animal as a universal transponder. There is something called a National Transponder that is accepted in like 19 states and it comes with some crazy costs.
This is ridiculous!

How are you all getting around this problem?
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Old 08-11-2017, 12:52 AM   #2
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I live South of Houston. Small town closer to the coast. There are tags (transponders) that work now on all the various tollways Statewide in Tejas. Finally.

Since they are managed by different entities, it wasn't always that way.

Nationally? Pretty doubtful. The "backoffice" requirements would be monumental.



Just so ya know, no reason for panic.



When they choose to remove the manned lane(s) from various exits, they know well that there will be many vehicles without a tag taking that exit. It's a cost factor decision by the management company.



And even IF you get photographed and eventually tracked down and sent an invoice, it's nothing dramatic. Happens every day. Over and over and over.
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:00 AM   #3
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Went to Seaquarium just off of Miami FL, on a toll road. Signs did explain it; they said if you don't have a tag, just keep going, don't worry about it, and we'll send you a bill. They did, the cameras caught my trailer tag, and they got my address from SC DMV. No fine, just the regular toll (for 4 axles), paid on line. Modern times!
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:27 AM   #4
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Some have reciprocity, others don't. If they don't have a manned both I think they are required to have a "bill by mail" alternate. At one point I had two transponders, a NC Quick Pass and an EZ Pass. EZ is mainly in the NE. NC now accepts EZ Pass (and several others). There is no national universal pass... yet.

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Old 08-11-2017, 12:56 PM   #5
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Had this happen in Canada...(I'm from Ohio). No manned booth, no alternate route, probably had a sign (but it's been too long ago to remember). Yes, they found us for the bill. No extra fees or surcharges. I'm absolutely curious about this system that can read cars as they speed by at 65mph+ and the computers/people that track down the owner/address information!

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Old 08-11-2017, 01:27 PM   #6
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The Florida turnpike is the same way. No toll attendants only passes so the camera takes your picture and mails you a bill about a month later. no penalty just the toll. It seems this is the way of tolls these days.
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Old 08-11-2017, 02:02 PM   #7
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This is why I don't leave the state. Getting crazy out there.
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Old 08-11-2017, 03:35 PM   #8
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I carry two, SunPass for Florida and EZPass for Illinois where live. EZPass is also good in a lot of eastern states as well. Transponders are pretty cheap; 5 to 10 bucks, and are set up to autofill from a credit card. You would think that there would be a national mandate to have all transponders work nationwide after a set date, otherwise they would cut federal highway funds. Not happening. Probably a lobbying issue. One nice thing about Texas and Florida with the automatic billing; when I ride the HD, my plate is tucked under the tour pack and doesn't get read. Freebie!
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:14 PM   #9
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Yep, I've got 3 on my windshield...

* EZ-Pass, which seems to be the most widely accepted.
* SunPass, which works in Florida
* PikePass, which seems to be for Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas

Of course, now that I'm traveling out west, haven't needed to replenish my account on any of them... which is why I hope I never have to cross the Mississippi ever again.
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by PamW View Post
Had this happen in Canada...(I'm from Ohio). No manned booth, no alternate route, probably had a sign (but it's been too long ago to remember). Yes, they found us for the bill. No extra fees or surcharges. I'm absolutely curious about this system that can read cars as they speed by at 65mph+ and the computers/people that track down the owner/address information!

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High speed digital cameras with some sort of OCR software. Then the number is submitted to the appropriate state DMV, who in turn sends the address information to the tolling company. Some states/Provinces have an agreement some don't. It isn't a perfect system but it seems to work much of the time. We had a couple of bills come in that were supposedly for our company trucks, however when we checked our GPS logs the plates had been mis-read and weren't for us. We protested the bill and they dropped them.

I have also seen some 'interesting' software in use by my local Sheriff's department. They have a camera linked to a laptop, it scans license plates of the vehicles driving by, if it spots one on the 'hit list' it lets the officer know and they can pull the car over. This has been around for several years the courts and civil liberty lawyers are arguing over it. In most states the license plate is owned by the state and therefore photographing it is legal or hasn't been ruled on yet.

And to think that people were worried about Santa Claus...

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Old 08-11-2017, 06:15 PM   #11
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...I have also seen some 'interesting' software in use by my local Sheriff's department. They have a camera linked to a laptop, it scans license plates of the vehicles driving by, if it spots one on the 'hit list' it lets the officer know and they can pull the car over. This has been around for several years the courts and civil liberty lawyers are arguing over it. In most states the license plate is owned by the state and therefore photographing it is legal or hasn't been ruled on yet...
Yep... same legal argument applies to Red Light cameras and Speed Cameras (some laser, some radar). And of course, every state supreme court has ruled in favor of the state.
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:25 PM   #12
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I suppose a bill by mail based on a snapshot of the rig's license plate would be considered acceptable as long as there is no penalty or added fees attached to using this method. Still I can see where it may not always be reliable or workable in some cases. Might even get off scot free if the reader can't read the plate or the home state DMV doesn't cooperate.
It seems to be mostly in the states East of the Mississippi where most of the tollroads are. Maybe I ought to just avoid them till the day comes that one solution will work for those states.
Still, Texas and California are pretty big states with tollroads. Guess I'll need to pony up for their transponders in the meantime if they go the cashless route.
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:46 PM   #13
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I just wonder how rental car companies feel about these things!

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Old 08-11-2017, 06:52 PM   #14
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I just wonder how rental car companies feel about these things!

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Trust me, they are happy to pass it on! And they add fees too

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Old 08-11-2017, 07:16 PM   #15
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This is why I don't leave the state. Getting crazy out there.
So, you don't leave the state because tolls are crazy???
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:01 PM   #16
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So, you don't leave the state because tolls are crazy???
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:05 PM   #17
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I got an out-of-state toll invoice in the mail once.

I knew it wasn't me and the grainy B&W photo wasn't even a pic of my plate. (Off by one digit)

I called the phone number and explained. The nice lady said no problem. Somebody fat-fingered the data entry.

That implies some portion of the process was manual when it came to finding the owner of the plate number.

Who knows? I imagine there are multiple "systems" out there.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:11 PM   #18
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I just wonder how rental car companies feel about these things!

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Trust the car rental companies to turn the situation into a profit center.
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:30 PM   #19
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California has a system called Express Account Charge where you can set up a fee-free account that associates your license plate(s) with your credit card. When you incur tolls they automagically charge your card at the end of the day. No fuss, no fees, no penalties. Just right for the occasional visitor. They send you a statement via email or snail mail so you can keep tabs on the charges. You can also choose a prepaid option if you don't want to provide your credit card number.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:29 PM   #20
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Dawniewest was braver.
Dude...you make me laugh at least once a day. You should be paid to work here.

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