Florida aims to improve safety and traffic flow by switching to electronic toll collection along the southern 47 miles of the Florida Turnpike.
Starting in mid-February 2011, all turnpike tolls will be collected electronically between Exit 47 and Exit 1 in Miami-Dade County. Motorists driving to locales such as Miami or the Florida Keys will use either SunPass or TOLL-BY-PLATE, and everyone will pay tolls without having to stop.
Travelers still can pay cash on all other segments of Florida's Turnpike, from its northern point at Interstate 75 in Wildwood to its junction with I-95 in north Miami-Dade.
SunPass is Florida’s prepaid electronic toll collection system. The system utilizes small, credit card size electronic devices called SunPass transponders, which attach to the inside of car windshields. When a SunPass-equipped vehicle goes through a tolling location, the transponder sends a signal and the toll is deducted from the customer’s account.
TOLL-BY-PLATE is a toll collection method for customers without SunPass, which takes a photo of a vehicle’s license plate as it travels under tolling equipment installed overhead and mails a bill for the tolls incurred over a 30-day period, plus a $2.50 administrative charge, to the registered owner of the vehicle.
Travelers also have the option of establishing a prepaid TOLL-BY-PLATE account by calling 1-888-TAG-TOLL and providing a credit or debit card, to avoid the administrative charge.
Those traveling in a rental vehicle can charge the tolls to the credit card being used to rent the vehicle, if their rental company offers such a program. For information about participating rental car companies, visit www.SunPass.com/rentalcar.
According to Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise , which owns and operates the turnpike, removing cash toll collections will improve safety by eliminating driver decisions about lane choice. In addition, electronic toll collection is quicker and there are no lines. Electronic toll collection also benefits the environment by reducing air pollution and fuel consumption, the Turnpike Enterprise claims.
While cash tolls will be removed only on the southern 47 miles of Florida’s Turnpike in February, the entire turnpike system of roadways eventually will convert to all-electronic tolling. It is anticipated the next phase, from the Golden Glades interchange in northern Miami-Dade County to the I-595 interchange in Broward County, will be ready in 2014.
By using SunPass, customers pay the lowest toll rates and generally save 25 percent on tolls, when compared to cash or TOLL-BY-PLATE customers.
The SunPass Mini transponder costs $4.99 but is reimbursable as a toll credit when registering the SunPass account. Order a transponder online at http://www.sunpass.com/ or call (888) TOLL-FLA (865-5352). For a list of sales locations, visit www.sunpass.com/salesLocations.
For more information about the launch of all-electronic tolling on the Florida Turnpike, go to www.floridasturnpike.com.