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Toll Roads and Transponders

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  • Toll Roads and Transponders

    Some members here are full timers or travel extensively. If your travels and towing are generally limited to the western states and the Pacific northwest you may not be attuned to toll roads and the aggravations inherent in stopping in a booth, backing up traffic while you spend time digging out your wallet, paying the toll, receiving your change, etc.

    Toll roads are a way of life in the northeastern states and the eastern seaboard.

    Are you aware that you can obtain an electronic decal or transponder unit for your tow vehicle and simply establish an account? The Okie Pike Pass is good in OK and KS and EZ Pass covers all the northeast and east coast? You can pick a state that uses EZ Pass. I chose PA. You're not required to be a resident of that state.

    When I started serious motorcycle touring in 2011 I quickly realized what a hassle it was to stop, shift into neutral, remove my gloves, unzip my heavy jacket, extract my wallet, etc., when heavily suited up for winter or wet weather travel. I could feel the resentment of impatient motorists behind me. As I did that I watched some motorists zoom by at 75 or 80 mph.

    I contacted Pike Pass in OK and EZ Pass in PA and obtained small handheld transponders. It's a great system. The state toll authorities don't care where you live as long as you have a mailing address. You register yourself and your tow vehicle, provide a cash deposit or a credit card to replenish your $40 account when it's emptied. The toll authority will issue a free transponder and you can drive right through. You can access your online account at any time to read your toll history and charges, account balance, etc. Some states or toll authorities offer discounted tolls if you use their automated system and occasionally the equipment doesn't charge you tolls.

    Some states now have modern high speed drive by toll readers. The sections of the Okie Turnpike between OKC and Joplin has a speed limit of 75 and reads properly at 79 or 80 mph when I'm not towing.

    A registered user can access their account and change the number of axles when towing or not towing. Thinking about pulling a trailer to Wisconsin next week I changed number of axles in my Pike Pass account from 2 (for truck only) to 4 (truck and tandem trailer).

    I recommend using the EZ Pass and Pike Pass systems. No charge to the user except reduced toll rates.
    Harvey Barlow
    USN Retired
    Crosby County, TX
    2008 Dodge Ram Quad Cab & Chassis, Cummins ISB6.7 Aisin CM Flatbed BrakeSmart Transfer Flow
    2011 Arctic Fox 26X, Yamaha 2400

  • #2
    California has Fastrak. It works for toll bridges and roads, toll/HOV lanes, and some parking lots (i.e. SFO airport). There are two types of transponders, switchable for number of passengers and non-switchable. Some toll/HOV lanes (i.e. on I-10) require the switchable transponder because tolls are based on traffic in the other lanes and number of people in the vehicle. Be careful where in California you buy the transponder, as some transit districts charge a fee if you live outside the district's counties and you infrequently use the transponder.
    2017 Ford F-350 XLT SC LB 6.7L Diesel 4x2 SRW
    On order - 2018 Arctic Fox 27-5L w/slide-out toppers, 15K AC, bedroom fan vent, powered sliding stab jacks, 50 amp service, 2" receiver hitch

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    • #3
      Makes me glad I live out west, haven't seen a toll road in a couple of years. I did find out the hard way that the great state of California has a toll road in Orange County, SR 241 heading toward Anaheim. There may be more but that's the only one I ever saw. I would definitely invest in a transponder or whatever was required to blow past the toll booth if I had to travel on one often.
      Bill
      Bill & Gloria
      2013 27-5L, B&W Companion, Reese 5th Airborne and Tri-Metric TM2025RV Battery Monitor. Honda EU2000i, Wired Rear View Camera. 2002 F350 7.3 Diesel, 6 Speed, LB, 4X4. To Many Mods To Even Talk About. US Navy Retired.

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      • #4
        Last time I checked TX just told me to pay when the bill comes in the mail. I haven't seen a modern toll road with a human collector in years out west.

        Also by taking the old highway from OK into KS to avoid the toll road there on 35, we saw some of the nicest areas of that trip. I choose the option of 'avoid toll roads' as much as possible.
        George and Carrie
        2001 Ford Excursion 7.3 Powerstroke BTS trans with Tru-kool cooler/V and mod'd B code springs/Prodigy Controller/TurboSmart waste-gate actuator/194k
        2007 AF 26Z-2/Plug-It-Right TPMS/225-75-16 E BFG Commercials/Yamaha EF2000is
        1998 21' SeaRay 210 Signature Series
        Avatar: Lake Shasta

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Offspring View Post
          Last time I checked TX just told me to pay when the bill comes in the mail. I haven't seen a modern toll road with a human collector in years out west.

          Also by taking the old highway from OK into KS to avoid the toll road there on 35, we saw some of the nicest areas of that trip. I choose the option of 'avoid toll roads' as much as possible.
          George,

          I used to do the same thing when traversing OK and have done it in recent years on a motorcycle but if the goal is passing through OK with a destination in mind the high speed Okie Turnpike with 75 mph speed limits and cruising through with the cruise ocntrol set on 79 mph will take hours off the trip and save wear and tear on the machinery, stress and energy of the driver, and probably fuel costs.

          Much of OK is pretty, green, with rolling hills, quaint small towns, and an occasionally interesting old store, museum, or place of interest but it's slow going.
          Harvey Barlow
          USN Retired
          Crosby County, TX
          2008 Dodge Ram Quad Cab & Chassis, Cummins ISB6.7 Aisin CM Flatbed BrakeSmart Transfer Flow
          2011 Arctic Fox 26X, Yamaha 2400

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          • #6
            Thanks for the info. I just opened an EZPass account in MA (from Florida). The EZpass system has some state nuances. For example, in MA, ME and NH you will be billed based on your number of axles as you drive through the toll. But in all the other states, you need a unique programmed transponder for the Truck/Trailer combination. At least this is what MA customer service told me. Since we use our truck for site seeing, I just got the transponder for the truck and will just make it a practice to always use the toll lanes when towing.
            2016 Arctic Fox 32-5M, 300 watt Zamp Solar Kit, 2 T105 Trojan 6 volts, 5.5 Onan LP Generator, 6pt leveling system, 2nd 13.5k A/C, Slide Toppers, Fireplace, King Bed, Central Vac.

            2016 Ford F-450 Lariat. B&W Companion Hitch. Remax Bed Roll Cover, Bed Carpet.

            Florida based

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            • #7
              The whole NE counts the axles.... The MA customer service guy is crazy! I've had EZPass for 15 years here in MD and have driven the truck and 5er in every NE state and a great many elsewhere where they use EZPass.
              BPofMD - Bud & Penny / Actively Retired Navy Vet
              2005 F250 6.0 - TorqLift Upper Overloads
              2007 Silver Fox 29-E 5th Wheel / Anderson Ultimate Hitch
              2015 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
              2012 VW Passat TDI (GONE !)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BPofMD View Post
                The whole NE counts the axles.... The MA customer service guy is crazy! I've had EZPass for 15 years here in MD and have driven the truck and 5er in every NE state and a great many elsewhere where they use EZPass.
                That is good information to know. I like your response better than the customer service rep for sure.
                Thanks
                2016 Arctic Fox 32-5M, 300 watt Zamp Solar Kit, 2 T105 Trojan 6 volts, 5.5 Onan LP Generator, 6pt leveling system, 2nd 13.5k A/C, Slide Toppers, Fireplace, King Bed, Central Vac.

                2016 Ford F-450 Lariat. B&W Companion Hitch. Remax Bed Roll Cover, Bed Carpet.

                Florida based

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                • #9
                  Wish the Sunshine State would change over to EZPass along with the rest of the East Coast.
                  BPofMD - Bud & Penny / Actively Retired Navy Vet
                  2005 F250 6.0 - TorqLift Upper Overloads
                  2007 Silver Fox 29-E 5th Wheel / Anderson Ultimate Hitch
                  2015 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
                  2012 VW Passat TDI (GONE !)

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                  • #10
                    As a point of reference. Last September while on the way to the Northwood East Coast Rally in NH we made the mistake of using I95 through NY city. The toll on the GW Bridge for the truck and camper was $87.00 and they do not take debit/credit cards. They photo your tag and send you a bil PLUS a $50.00 service fee. I highly recommend an EZ pass and avoid NY city if at all possible.
                    2016 Arctic Fox 27-5L
                    15K A/C, Thermopane Windows, Power Stabilizers, Maxxis 8008 Tires, Progressive Dynamics EMS (Hardwired), MaxAir Vent Covers.
                    2013 Ram 3500, long bed, Dually, 6.7L Diesel. Anderson Ultimate Hitch(steel).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cobbfmly View Post
                      California has Fastrak. It works for toll bridges and roads, toll/HOV lanes, and some parking lots (i.e. SFO airport). There are two types of transponders, switchable for number of passengers and non-switchable. Some toll/HOV lanes (i.e. on I-10) require the switchable transponder because tolls are based on traffic in the other lanes and number of people in the vehicle. Be careful where in California you buy the transponder, as some transit districts charge a fee if you live outside the district's counties and you infrequently use the transponder.
                      So how does someone from out of state determine how to find a good place to buy a Fastrak pass?
                      Bruce & Shannon
                      Redmond Washington
                      2017 Arctic Fox 27-5L replacing a 2013 Lance 1685
                      2016 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD High Country Edition

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fox&Bear View Post

                        So how does someone from out of state determine how to find a good place to buy a Fastrak pass?
                        You can set up an account online and they will mail the transponder to you. This site is for a transit district that does not charge a non-use fee. https://www.bayareafastrak.org/en/home/index.shtml
                        2017 Ford F-350 XLT SC LB 6.7L Diesel 4x2 SRW
                        On order - 2018 Arctic Fox 27-5L w/slide-out toppers, 15K AC, bedroom fan vent, powered sliding stab jacks, 50 amp service, 2" receiver hitch

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