Home Travel We’re One Step Closer To A Toll Transponder That Can Be Used Nationwide

We’re One Step Closer To A Toll Transponder That Can Be Used Nationwide

by SharonKurheg

When different areas each develop their own version of specific electronic capabilities in different places, their interoperability can be…complicated. Case in point, toll transponders.

E-ZPass is available up and down the I-95 corridor from Maine to North Carolina and west to Illinois. It’s even available on select (but not all!) roads in Central Florida. But you can’t use it in, for example, Utah. Or California. Or Michigan. Or lots of other states.

SunPass, E-Pass and LeeWay, which are the 3 (and it used to be 4!) toll transponders in Florida (because 1 transponder made specifically for Florida wasn’t enough?), aren’t compatible with E-ZPass systems, but can be used in Georgia and North Carolina.

Palmetto Pass is the only transponder for the few toll roads in South Carolina and it’s not compatible with any other state’s transponder.

Kansas’ K-Tag can be used in Oklahoma and Texas, and Oklahoma’s Pikepass can be used in Kansas and Texas. Texas’ TollTag can be used in Oklahoma but not Kansas, and its Tx Tag and EZ Tag are ONLY good in Texas. Oh, and none of them are interoperable with any other transponder system.

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This map, from the Minnesota DOT, is from 2016, so it’s not completely up-to-date in terms of interoperability, but it gives a good example of all the different systems out there.

I think you get the point.

In 2012, the government gave toll operators a 2016 deadline to make their systems compatible. It didn’t happen. So nowadays it just happens by piecemeal. Happily, another piece of the puzzle was just put into place.

E-Pass, which is one of the toll transponders out of Florida, now offers something new, called E-Pass Xtra. It’s completely compatible with the E-Z Pass group, which means it can be used in 18 states.

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This is a good thing because although E-Z Pass is available on some roads in Central FL, it doesn’t work on all of them. It also doesn’t work in any other part of Florida. So you couldn’t use it in Tampa or Miami, for example. And as I mentioned earlier, Florida’s SunPass, LeeWay and regular E-Pass couldn’t be used on E-Z Pass roads.

The E-Pass Xtra transponder costs $18.50, plus tax and $10 to activate your E-PASS prepaid toll account. There are no annual contracts or monthly account fees.

Click here for more info or to open an account.

(By the way, there is a transponder, called Bestpass, which works with 95% of toll roads. But it’s only for trucks. They specifically say they can’t current support 2 axle/4 tire vehicles. Pity. Probably just as well, though – their set up charges are $430, and they charge a $13 service fee)

*** Thanks to Steven C. for the heads up about this topic

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

5 comments

derek February 11, 2020 - 6:35 pm

I wouldn’t mind if there were two systems but there are way too many systems now. When renting a car, I sometimes plan on how to avoid toll roads because the costs are so high. If I could use my transponder to pay like a normal car, I wouldn’t mind.

South Carolina is too small. Maybe there should be the Texas standard and the EZ Pass standard. Have two transponders and you would be good for the entire U.S.

I used to have a Canadian transponder but then the toll for the area that I might drive on became toll free.

Reply
Blujkts (@Amex_4001) February 12, 2020 - 5:32 am

now to figure out how to run down the prepaid balance on my 2 other transponders… ugh

Reply
SharonKurheg February 12, 2020 - 11:20 am

Do they offer refunds if you plan to close the accounts?

Reply
SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT February 13, 2020 - 1:56 am

Sharon,
When you and hubby visit California, I’ll loan you my FasTrak transponder. I’ll even be extra nice and register the license plate number from your rental vehicle so you don’t get pinged later with crazy fees from using the toll roads…lol

Until they can figure out interoperability among themselves, I’ve been using that SunPass tip you posted. I load funds – I’ve been adding 20.00 each of the last three trips since October, and that amount seems to give me plenty to use for my 4 to 5 day trips around greater Orlando. It has worked without any problems.

By the way, Cracker Barrel is getting closer to Los Angeles. They opened their newest location at the huge outlet mall in Camarillo over in Ventura County. Place was so packed – and the wait was pushing an 1 hour and 45 minutes, we patronized a local cafe instead.

SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT

Reply
askmrlee (@askmrlee) February 15, 2020 - 7:15 pm

Even California required that the toll tags work at any toll within the state. Why not Florida? But now in California there are two different types of tags, one found at most retail stores and a Flex tag that has a switch to indicate how many people are in the car.

You pretty much have to order the Flex tag in advance and it’s completely worth it if you are traveling from the Bay Area to Tahoe on a Friday afternoon and want to use Express lanes. With two people and a Flex tag you can use the express lanes for free, but you need one of these Flex tags, A non-Flex tag will result in a toll even with the required minimum number of people in the car.

Oh and if you have a CAV – Clean Air Vehicle, you need to get a special CAV tag one or register that because it too has its own reduced fees and limitations.

With all the complications in California alone, no wonder we don’t have a nationwide tolling system.

Reply

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