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Old 08-29-2016, 10:00 AM   #21
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Another thing to keep in mind is that in most states that offer discounts for EZ-Pass, it's only for transponders issued by that state. (NH for example.) Also, some states won't provide transponders to non-residents. It's an inconsistent mish-mash of rules.

I had thought that one could not add an out-of-state license plate to an EZ-Pass registration but I see that I can (for NH, anyway.) Interesting...
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Old 08-29-2016, 10:06 AM   #22
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Day 1 stop and get an EZ Pass transponder at the first place you can. Set up an account and register your car and CC and enjoy your vacation. At the end close the account and send the transponder back.

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Old 08-29-2016, 10:14 AM   #23
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This is why with the I-Pass, I got one for each car.
For I-pass there is no cost to not using it for months, so it's worth it, even if only used 1 time per year.
Yep. I was driving my hobby car that is driven very rarely to a car show.

As far as I can recall, my 2 transponders were free to acquire as you suggested. I see they do have a new procedure called EZ=Pass "On The Go" that you can acquire the transponder quickly from a retail location. You pay $32 which includes $25 for tolls and $7 transponder deposit ( so it is still effectively free except it does not state if the retailer can charge a fee).
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:51 AM   #24
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Has Florida harmonized their SUNPass with EZPass yet?

I almost never travel on toll roads. Even when I drive down to Florida there are only a couple of toll stops on the WV turnpike (EZPass) and I mostly avoid the Florida turnpike (I-95 north of Palm Beach is fine - south of there it's more like MadMax I admit). So I don't see the point in getting transponders for two different systems that I'd rarely use.

I guess I'm OK until they require transponders.
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:14 PM   #25
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If anything needs to be standardized in the country, it's the toll systems. The Texas system won't work with any other state I have traveled across and in some parts of Texas, we have another, separate system. Go figure.

Wouldn't it be nice if all states combined the data for the individual state transponders and you received one bill for all toll roads taken?
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:16 PM   #26
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Has Florida harmonized their SUNPass with EZPass yet?
Not yet. http://e-zpassiag.com/about-e-zpass/where-can-i-use-it
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Old 08-29-2016, 12:48 PM   #27
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If anything needs to be standardized in the country, it's the toll systems. The Texas system won't work with any other state I have traveled across and in some parts of Texas, we have another, separate system. Go figure.

Wouldn't it be nice if all states combined the data for the individual state transponders and you received one bill for all toll roads taken?
Well, I think it is coming. Maybe sooner than you think. If the right election occurs, I can see the old carrot/stick approach from congress: "Get this money if you put up transponder gates on the interstates", blah, blah. It will eventually happen. The gas tax thing in the US is not working anymore and will continue to not work with electrics.

That said, the talk of Sunpass/EZpass shows just how messed up things are. NC's "Quickpass" works with all EZpass states, AND Sunpass! But Sunpass doesn't work with EZpass.

I guess you need a Venn diagram to figure this out.
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:33 PM   #28
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Yep. I was driving my hobby car that is driven very rarely to a car show.

As far as I can recall, my 2 transponders were free to acquire as you suggested. I see they do have a new procedure called EZ=Pass "On The Go" that you can acquire the transponder quickly from a retail location. You pay $32 which includes $25 for tolls and $7 transponder deposit ( so it is still effectively free except it does not state if the retailer can charge a fee).
Massachusetts EZpass is even better deal. $0 deposit, $20 for tolls, and no monthly charges. Ours has sat inactive for over 6 months since DW retired and no inactivity fees. I even called their customer service folks and confirmed no inactivity fees.

The battery in the EZpass hard body transponder will theoretically die after about 6 years but YMMV and depends on whether it's stored in your car and how often it is used. The little sticker tag transponders (NC Quickpass for example) are passive RF technology and won't run out of batteries because they have none, and are activated by the "pizza box" thingy above you on the gantry.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:02 PM   #29
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That said, the talk of Sunpass/EZpass shows just how messed up things are. NC's "Quickpass" works with all EZpass states, AND Sunpass! But Sunpass doesn't work with EZpass.

I guess you need a Venn diagram to figure this out.
It's really a mess. My last job was with the NC Turnpike Authority and I dealt with the issues around the different toll tag protocols. There are multiple types of RF communications protocols that the different transponders use, and not all are compatible with all of the protocols.

Because of technological limitations you can't just build a transponder (yet) that can do like 5 or 6 different RF protocols at once (you're pinging a transponder in a necessarily narrow field of vision at speeds that are often spec'd up to 100 mph, you only get a split second literally to scan the RF tag - split that split second up between several different RF comm protocols and you don't have enough time to read and verify ID data consistently). It's extremely expensive for toll authorities to upgrade to newer RF scanners (think many millions or tens of dollars for a single medium sized urban toll road; multiply by the many dozens of toll facilities across the US). So you have outdated legacy toll antennae at older facilities using EZpass but you have to keep those in place to read EZpasses (that aren't compatible in many other states with different RF comm protocols).

North Carolina installed the newer dual protocol antennae that can read Ezpass and Sunpass (2 different protocols) and last I heard a three protocol reader was coming out. Maybe one day they'll get a truly universal antenna and everyone will use that (but probably not; they'll go with the cheaper outdated legacy tech ).

Then there's the back office system where all the EZ pass agencies swap data and cash. Huge cluster.

Let's just say there's a mint to be made in the toll tech consulting world, but I retired and didn't get a taste of that sweet sweet pie.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:23 PM   #30
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Then there's the back office system where all the EZ pass agencies swap data and cash. Huge cluster.
I read that as "crash", which is about right.

Of course, that's the software guy coming out in me.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:37 PM   #31
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We drove from WV to ME last year and paid cash for all tolls. I did not keep track of what it cost. We are getting ready to drive from WV to Canada next month and we are planning on using cash again. I will try to write down the cost this year. I am not good at remembering things like this. I do not remember this being a hassle. We are on vacation and enjoy the trip!

We drive from WV to Charlotte NC approximately once per month and stop at 2 tolls each way. One cost $2.00 and the other is 40 cents. We pay cash.
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Old 08-29-2016, 04:21 PM   #32
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As others have mentioned, it is best to get a MA toll pass whether you live there or not if you want the non-FL compatible one.


Slightly off-topic, we used to have IL transponders. One time I looked at the statement, and there was a toll taken from the Skyway south of Chicago (an expensive "private" toll bridge). The only problem is that we weren't driving that car, hadn't for several months, and weren't even in the area at the time. I called and they said they would look into it and refund the charge if appropriate, but I never followed up and never saw a refund (I did cancel the IL accounts soon after this and switch to MA.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:42 AM   #33
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funny story... I had a friend that returned her EZ-Pass, but did not wrap in in tin foil of their special bag... and it sat in a mail truck for a couple days and rang up about $30 in tolls and the truck went thru the tolls.... She was able to get a complete refund.
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:46 AM   #34
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Watch out for toll roads without toll booths. We drove a rental car through a tunnel in Norfolk, VA, which used a license plate reader. It took a few weeks, but Avis forwarded us the bill plus their service fee.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:15 PM   #35
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What I think you can do is find an EZ Pass retail location along your route and buy an EZ Pass transponder and register your rental car on it as well as your owned cars. You can move the transponder from car to car.

https://www.ezpassva.com/EZPages/Retail-Locations.aspx
Just remember to remove the rental from your account or the next person that uses the rental and goes though the toll will go on your account!!
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:50 PM   #36
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Would that me true even if you take the transponder with you? In other words, if I take the transponder with me and forget to take that plate off my account will it still be charged to my account? I thought toll charges keyed off the transponder and the plate was secondary.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:08 PM   #37
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Toll charges key off the transponder but the license plate will still be linked to that transponder and you'll get the bills for them not having the transponder if they go through. Not good. Better safe than sorry.


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Old 08-31-2016, 06:11 AM   #38
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This is what the New York Service center says about using your own EZPass on a rental car:

Should I add my rental car information to my E-ZPass account? Do not add rental car information to your E-ZPass account. However, you can use your E-ZPass Tag in any vehicle of the same class. Please ensure that your E-ZPass Tag is properly mounted as per installation instructions in all vehicles in which the Tag is used. A Tag that is not mounted properly may prevent the Tag from being read in the lane. If your Tag does not read, you will be subject to the terms of your car rental agreement that apply to E-ZPass usage, toll transactions and/or violation transactions. If you ignore their advice and add it you risk getting tolls from someone else if you forget to remove the car or your removal is not processed immediately. Also, you might not even be able to add the car because someone else (other driver or the rental agency) already added it.


If you follow their advice, you want to make sure the tag is read because the car's license plate is not available as a backup if it isn't and, as they state, the toll will end up with the rental company and ultimately you, with big added fees.
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:32 AM   #39
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I would definitely just buy an EZ pass in VA at the first place you can. You will be amazed at how long the cash lines are at the various tolls. I live in VA and we have family in MA and NH, so we do this trip several times a year. The EZ pass is a lifesaver. You don't have to add a car - just use the EZ pass in the car.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:27 AM   #40
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Remember that many GPS systems/apps have an option to avoid toll roads. This isn't always an option, but I find that the resulting routes are often more interesting and not too out of the way.

It's not always an option (depending on the area), but if you aren't in a hurry, give it a try.
Just for fun, I once asked my old Garmin GPS to avoid tolls on a trip from Pennsylvania to Manhattan, NY. It took a long time to calculate the route, and I'm not sure how successful it was in minimizing the tolls, but it did give me a route that was several thousand miles and included Nova Scotia.
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