Goodbye, tollbooth: E-ZPass will soon retire a turnpike icon

Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is moving ahead with plans to convert to an all-electronic toll collection system by 2018, an inevitable nod to technology that will improve the situation for motorists.

Once fully implemented, the 545-mile turnpike's 76 tollbooths will be a thing of the past. Vehicles would maintain normal highway speeds as they pass under overhead stanchions equipped with electronic readers, which is what happens now in some E-ZPass lanes.

The turnpike commission has not determined yet what method will be used to charge motorists who don't have an E-ZPass transponder. One option is electronically reading their license plate numbers for billing. In Florida, for instance, drivers who don't have a pass can either prepay into an account based on their vehicle license plate or they are billed after the fact, with a surcharge tacked on.

Regardless of the process selected, E-ZPass customers will continue to pay a lower rate in tolls than drivers without the devices. Currently, it costs the turnpike just 20 cents to process an E-ZPass transaction versus $1 for cash. The transponders cost $10 and drivers must set up an account with at least $35 in it, with tolls automatically deducted as they are incurred, plus a $3 per year fee. E-ZPass users receive a 25 percent average discount over cash customers now.

With a fully automated system, drivers will save more than money. All-electronic tolling saves gasoline, reduces emissions, speeds the flow of traffic, prevents backups and cuts down on the likelihood of rear-end collisions while lined up at a tollbooth.

There's no argument against this kind of progress.

opinion_editorials


Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here