Is This a Good Way to Pay For Electronic Tolls?
“Toll roads should accept cash. At the very least, they should have an online system where you can pay within 24 hours of using the toll road or toll bridge. That would be good for people renting cars who otherwise have to pay insane fees.”
Is This a Good Way to Pay For Electronic Tolls?
What you just read was this portion of a comment which was posted by derek — who is a reader of The Gate — in response to this recent article pertaining to Philadelphia, where a law was passed that requires all businesses to accept cash while the nearby Pennsylvania Turnpike will eventually have a system of only electronic tolling by the year 2021.
Also in response to the aforementioned article, Barry Graham wrote this comment that “New York has a new pay per trip plan linked to a checking account that doesn’t require a pre-payment. When I left New York, I kept my NY EZPass open. There is no requirement to live in a state to get an EZPass. I think this would work.”
I did not know about the new Pay Per Trip plan or exactly when it was implemented, so I looked it up — and according to the official Internet web site of the New York Service Center of E-ZPass, Pay Per Trip with Standard Plan is “a ‘post-paid’ plan that enables you to link your E-ZPass account to your bank checking account and pay for all your E-ZPass tolls once per day, direct from your bank account, for the days on which you have E-ZPass toll usage. No money is held as ‘prepaid balance’ like with the other E-ZPass plans, there is no need to provide a credit card number, and your account is not charged until you incur tolls (except in some circumstances on the night you sign up). If you optionally provide a backup credit card payment form you will not be required to maintain a deposit for each tag on your account, and the credit card will also serve as a secondary payment method if the bank account withdrawal fails for some reason.”
My Thoughts of the Pay Per Trip Plan
From what I have read — and I have not used it yet at the time this article was written — the Pay Per Trip plan of the New York Service Center of E-ZPass seems to be close to the utopia of how electronic tolling should be fairly implemented to all motorists, as according to the frequently asked questions of the Pay Per Trip plan: anyone is eligible for this plan; no tag deposit of ten dollars is required if an optional credit card is offered as a backup payment to a bank account, which is only debited when new tolls are incurred; and no extra fees or costs seem to be charged for this plan…
…but I do have some thoughts:
- I would like to see an option for the credit card to be the primary payment instead of funds being taken directly from a bank account.
- If the potential for a mistake or error — which could occur with automatically drawing funds electronically and directly from a bank account — happens, does the motorist have any recourse; and if so, how difficult would correcting the error be for the motorist?
- The Pay Per Trip plan seems to only be for vehicles which are registered for it — but I could be mistaken. If it were registered for motorists instead of vehicles, then customers of rental car companies may have a chance of avoiding having to incur and pay usurious fees which rental car companies charge whenever one of their vehicles triggers an electronic toll.
The concept of not slowing down to pay a toll may be appealing; but I have been opposed to all-electronic tolling for a number of reasons, as I believe that motorists — who are just as much consumers who drive on the highway as customers of businesses are consumers as well — should have more of a choice on how they prefer to pay their tolls so that everyone wins. In my opinion, every toll collection point should have at least one toll booth with which physical coins and dollar bills are accepted for payment — and perhaps even a second toll booth through which exact change is required with no attendant to man it…
…but electronic tolling systems which offer an easy way to pay the toll — with no additional charges, such as service fees — while simultaneously billing the owner of the transponder and not the owner of the vehicle itself gives me one fewer reason to be opposed to all-electronic tolling. With the ways in which technology saves toll authorities money, penalizing a motorist with service fees and other additional costs simply because he or she does not live in an area where toll roads are prevalent is wholly unfair. Just charge that motorist the cost of the toll and be done with it.
Articles at The Gate pertaining to the topic of electronic tolls include:
- Why Governments are Hypocritical in Forcing Businesses to Accept Cash
- This is How Visitors in Rental Cars Should Pay Electronic Tolls
- Hertz Sued by San Francisco Over Fees For Electronic Tolls
- Are Fees Out of Control for Electronic Tolls Using Rental Cars?
- The Pain of Electronic Tolls is Felt by More and More FlyerTalk Members
- Electronic Tolls in South Africa: Economic Apartheid?
- Are Rental Car Companies Taking an Electronic Toll On You — Literally?
- $17,000 Fine For $36 in Unpaid Electronic Tolls?
- Electronic Tolls and Rental Car Companies: Outrageous Gouging?
- Not Paying a Toll Can Take a Toll — On You
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.