Note: This program is temporarily suspended due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.
When you’re budgeting a visit to Central Florida and planning on renting a car, there are lots of things to keep in mind:
- Do you really need to rent a car when you’re in Central Florida?
- How to get a cheap rental car
- Signing up for car rental programs and what each program will give you
- Should you get the three types of rental car insurance?
- Should you prepay for gas with your rental car?
- Where NOT to fill up your tank before returning your car to MCO
- Where the normal priced gas stations are when you’re returning your car to MCO
- How to avoid paying crazy toll charges when renting a car in Orlando
That last one is important, because the way different car rental companies handle tolls and rental of their toll transponders run the gamut from a low of $5 administrative fee + tolls paid, to a high of huge penalties for going through electronic tolls without a transponder.
However that might all be changing, and the groups in charge of tolls in Central Florida are in the midst of pilot study that you could potentially be a part of…
The Central Florida Expressway Authority is piloting a new automated toll payment solution for select visitors to Florida traveling between May 1, 2019 and July 30, 2020 (it had originally been through August 31, 2019 but was extended) and renting a car from the Orlando International Airport. It’s called Visitor Toll Pass™.
Visitor Toll Pass™ is a hang tag that you place on your rental car’s rearview mirror. Once you’ve registered and hung the hang tag, you automatically pay tolls electronically on Florida toll roads without needing to stop in cash toll lanes. You’ll pay the lowest toll rate (saving as much as 80% compared with rental car toll programs, plus an additional 23% on tolls by paying the electronic toll rate), without any additional fees.
From the Visitor Toll Pass™ website:
How does it work?
Visitor Toll Pass™ is the smart alternative to costly rental car toll programs. Use Visitor Toll Pass™ to pay tolls electronically while traveling on any toll road throughout Florida. Visitor Toll Pass™ is accepted at all electronic toll collection points, allowing you to travel nonstop without fumbling for cash. Plus, you will pay a reduced toll rate – with no additional fees or charges.
Reserve Visitor Toll Pass™ for FREE during the pilot phase for travel throughout Florida.
Step 1: Reserve Visitor Toll Pass™
Hit the ground running when you arrive in Florida. Reserve your pass online now for your next trip. Travel must be between May 1 – August 31, 2019.
Step 2: Pick up Visitor Toll Pass™ at Orlando International Airport
Upon arrival, look for the Visitor Toll Pass™ counter on the rental car level of the airport.
Step 3: Explore and Enjoy
Use Visitor Toll Pass™ for nonstop toll travel throughout Florida. Simply hang the pass from your rearview mirror* and GO! Use Visitor Toll Pass™ in all electronic and express lanes. Works everywhere you see E-PASS, SunPass, or LeeWay (Note from Sharon: That’s virtually every pass in the state of Florida. So even if you go far out to Miami, Key West, St. Augustine, the beach, etc., the Visitor Toll Pass™ will still work).
Step 4: Return Visitor Toll Pass™ at Orlando International Airport
Remove your pass from your rental car when you return and drop it in one of the Visitor Toll Pass™ return dropboxes or at the airport counter.
Step 5: Tolls Charged to Credit Card
The credit card you provided will be billed within 3 days of the conclusion of your trip.
There’s no surcharge to use the Visitor Toll Pass™ and you do need to tell your rental car company that you’re opting out of using their transponder if you’re going to use the Visitor Toll Pass™.
You have to be picking up and dropping off your rental car at Orlando International Airport to be able to use Visitor Toll Pass™. Click here for their FAQ.
The Visitor Toll Pass™ is in trials at this time and the hang tags are available via reservation (or in person, 9am to 1am, at their sign up desk, which is by the car rental counters at MCO) for visits to Central Florida, only through August 31, 2019.
My Opinion Of This
If the Central Florida Expressway Authority continues Visitor Toll Pass™ after the piloting session, I think it will be a beautiful thing. Because of the car rental companies’ greed, too many tourists have paid WAAAY too much for tolls/transponders/penalties in Florida, and this would be an excellent way for them to only pay for the tolls.
As it should be.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary