Beware ! Cashless Toll Roads in Florida

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Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami & Port Canaveral & Tampa
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#1
Northern CA
377 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Just got slapped with an additional $152 bill from Dollar Rent a Car for a violation on Florida State Road 874, which I just discovered is a "Cashless Toll Road" Have never heard of anything like that where I live in California!
This is a road from Miami going south towards the Keys or Everglades National Park. There are no toll booths, they were removed in July 2010. This must be a great money maker for the State of Florida, praying on unsuspecting Visitors unaware that there are even such roads. We stopped every time there was a toll booth on the Florida Turnpike, but this road 874 is a short connector to the turnpike from a free road to the Turnpike! What a ripoff!! Has anyone experienced this and got a refund from the State of Florida?
Don
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#2
Rhode Island
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Sounds like you got ripped off by your rental car agency! They initially send a bill if you pass over the cashless road without a transponder, but if you ignore it, the fines start to kick in. Should never be so much to start. Thanks for the heads up!

Here's a USA today article about the cashless toll roads and one about the rental car companies (though this was not in Florida), ripping off customers.

http://www.statesman.com/blogs/conte...encourage.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...ll-roads_N.htm
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#3
Fort Lauderdale, FL
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I agree, the bill should have been for the actual toll, not $152.

I know this is a little late to help you, but it's worth mentioning because it can help others in the future - Florida SunPass transponders can be purchased at any of the rest/service areas on the FL turnpike (and Publix supermarkets and probably a bunch of other places). They're $4.99, and when activated by phone, start with a credit of - you guessed it - $4.99. It's essentially free. So grab one while you're filling up or getting snacks, activate from your cell phone, and then you'll never have to stop at any of the toll plazas. There are several cashless entry/exit ramps popping up on the turnpike now as well.
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#4
Canada
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I also got slapped with a toll for route 874 using a Budget Rental. Mine was only for $16.00 BUT the problem was I didn't go on route 874. In fact, I rented in FLL and headed north up to Jensen Beach. I spend hours on the phone with both the Florida Toll Authority and Budget Customer Service but neither wanted to help be and each referred my back to the other.

I'm sure I spent more that $16.00 in long distance charges (as I was often kept on hold for long periods and was calling from Canada) but I refused to pay for something I didn't do.

After much discussion it turns out Budget did not give me the car that was on my contract. So someone else had my car and drove through route 874. Do you think at this point they would cancel the charge? No.

I finally had it reversed by my credit card company. Two things saved me. One, I had taken a time and date stamped photo of my car when I returned it that included the license plate and showed it was different from what was on the contract. The other was I had stopped and bought some groceries on my credit card in Jensen less than 30 minutes after supposedly going on the toll road and that would have been physically impossible.

I sent a letter to Budget Customer Service after with all relevant documents including the photo and never heard back from them. Makes you wonder.
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#5
Northern CA
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Joined Aug 2005
After researching the subject of "Cashless Toll Road" articles listed above and also looking at the Miami-Dade Toll Authority Website, I found out that most of the $152 was being assessed by Dollar! The actual toll amounts were $2.00 + $0.15 per toll gate + perhaps a $3.00 per bill Fee for handling charges. Dollar charged $25 Administrative fee for each of 6 toll gate charges($150 + $2.00 in toll fees.

When confronted with this information the representative offered to back charge me $18 for a transponder and refund $134. I accepted this deal, but am still out the tolls I paid at the toll booths over three days, plus the cost of the Transponder, I did not use! Still sort of a rip off. I like the idea of buying the Sun Pass at the Grocery store, for use while in Florida!
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#6
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Nvm.
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#7
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WOW, I'm having some second thoughts of using Hertz's PlatePass option now! From their website and other posters, you just drive through the tolls (Florida Turnpike)) and they auto bill your credit card. We're going from Orlando to Miami, and I think I calculated the tolls right as being around $15.00. Hopefully I won't have this problem!!!
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#8
Melbourne, FL
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Originally posted by jeffbrig
I agree, the bill should have been for the actual toll, not $152.

I know this is a little late to help you, but it's worth mentioning because it can help others in the future - Florida SunPass transponders can be purchased at any of the rest/service areas on the FL turnpike (and Publix supermarkets and probably a bunch of other places). They're $4.99, and when activated by phone, start with a credit of - you guessed it - $4.99. It's essentially free. So grab one while you're filling up or getting snacks, activate from your cell phone, and then you'll never have to stop at any of the toll plazas. There are several cashless entry/exit ramps popping up on the turnpike now as well.
one note here

this transponder is the type that gets glued to the windshield, so I'm guessing it is a one time use sort of thing. The instructions with the device say it won't work unless glued to the windshield and looking at mine I think it will be destroyed when it is removed. The older $20 model is still sold as well, and this one attaches to the windshield with suction cups and can be used in multiple vehicles. But you don't get for "free" like the Sun Pass Mini
https://www.sunpass.com/sunPassRetailers

you can also buy via the website and have it mailed to you b4 you go.
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#9
London, Canada
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Some advice from the locals. I'm driving down from West Palm Beach Airport to Hollywood this Sunday (we land at noon, so I guess we'll be on the road by 1 or so after picking up the car). Do you think it's worth it to pick up one of these stick on passes to save stopping at the toll booths even though the actual toll will be less than what I pay for the transponder? I'm not sure if Sunday afternoon makes it more or less likely there will be line-ups at toll booths, or if it's even worth taking the turnpike instead of 95.

Also, do these passes work on all the Florida toll roads? I might pick one up for my wife's sister, as her family will be driving over to Port Canaveral from Orlando in April, and I beleive that is a toll road as well.
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#10
Rhode Island
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Here is a handy link stating most rental car companies policy for toll roads:

https://www.sunpass.com/rentalcar
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#11
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Originally posted by Capt_BJ
one note here

this transponder is the type that gets glued to the windshield, so I'm guessing it is a one time use sort of thing. The instructions with the device say it won't work unless glued to the windshield and looking at mine I think it will be destroyed when it is removed. The older $20 model is still sold as well, and this one attaches to the windshield with suction cups and can be used in multiple vehicles. But you don't get for "free" like the Sun Pass Mini
https://www.sunpass.com/sunPassRetailers

you can also buy via the website and have it mailed to you b4 you go.
The portable transponders are now $25.00. I guess there is nothing stopping you from getting the $4.99 one and then removing it from a rental car. Does anyone see a problem with this? The SunPass site says you can use a portable transponder in a rental, but doesn't address the permanent type.

You are right though Captain BJ, the glued type WILL be destroyed when removed. The rental car companies want to charge $6.99/day. It would be nice if these transponders were uniform nation wide. We have EZPass here in the Northeast.
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#12
Melbourne, FL
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sure you can just peel it off and toss it, but then you need to deactivate it to get your account closed. Remeber you pre-paid tolls. Even with the mini as I recall you must activate it for $10, and then you get the $4.99 credit as well, so if you use between $5 and $15 in tolls you'd have some $$ kicking around in the FL coffers.

yes, having a universal system would be nice for now the Florida system is sep'

If you roll your own, be sure the rental car isn't activated as well because I believe the system will 'double tap'.


Some advice from the locals. I'm driving down from West Palm Beach Airport to Hollywood this Sunday (we land at noon, so I guess we'll be on the road by 1 or so after picking up the car). Do you think it's worth it to pick up one of these stick on passes to save stopping at the toll booths even though the actual toll will be less than what I pay for the transponder? I'm not sure if Sunday afternoon makes it more or less likely there will be line-ups at toll booths, or if it's even worth taking the turnpike instead of 95.
I'd take 95 . . .

Also, do these passes work on all the Florida toll roads? I might pick one up for my wife's sister, as her family will be driving over to Port Canaveral from Orlando in April, and I beleive that is a toll road as well.

Yes, but there is only one toll between the airport and the port so is it worth it? OTOH, the pay lanes of this one toll CAN be backed up while the sunpass lane lets you fly by. I bought the $25 version b4 I moved to Florida and various family members used it for a couple of years. Small, easy to carry, and can be used in virtually any vehicle.
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#13
Fort Lauderdale, FL
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Originally posted by DanJ
Some advice from the locals. I'm driving down from West Palm Beach Airport to Hollywood this Sunday (we land at noon, so I guess we'll be on the road by 1 or so after picking up the car). Do you think it's worth it to pick up one of these stick on passes to save stopping at the toll booths even though the actual toll will be less than what I pay for the transponder? I'm not sure if Sunday afternoon makes it more or less likely there will be line-ups at toll booths, or if it's even worth taking the turnpike instead of 95.

Also, do these passes work on all the Florida toll roads? I might pick one up for my wife's sister, as her family will be driving over to Port Canaveral from Orlando in April, and I beleive that is a toll road as well.
At 1pm on Sunday, there's really no NEED to avoid I-95. The worst slowdowns are heading into Miami in morning rush hour on weekdays, but you're on a different day and much further north. You should actually have pretty favorable traffic...unless there happens to be an accident, which can happen on any road.

The passes work on most tolls in Florida. Nearly all. There's a couple of locally operated tolls (i.e. not run by the turnpike authority) here and there around the state that don't particpate. A few bridge tolls that I can think of aren't covered (Card South Rd in the keys, and I think one of the causeway bridges in Miami).

One option on the "permanent" transponder is that you could probably tape it to the windshield instead of using the permanent adhesive. I can't think of any technical reason why an RFID tag would need to be mechanically bonded to glass to work. It's just an issue of proximity to the sensors.

Interestingly enough, I have one of the "suction cup" transponders, and it lives in the center console of my car - a soft top convertible. Been there for years and it's never failed to register when going through toll plazas.
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#14
Miami
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Joined Apr 2007
Most of those "glue on" devices will come off - you just have to pull them hard enough - hard to the point you think you're going to break it, but you won't. I had one left on my windshield after I moved off of Key Biscayne and down to the Grove. I never renewed my device since I wasn't commuting over the causeway anymore. That thing sat there for over a year as I was thinking I could not get it off because it wasn't budging when I tried. One day, determined, I reached up there and pulled real hard - it came right off and so did the "glue" which was like a really, really heavy duty rubber cement type substance. Now, it's been sitting in the console for a year. LOL One day, I'll turn it in and get my deposit back.

I have friends who have these who never put them on the windshield because they use them in different cars and they seem to work for them. They hold them against the glass when going through a toll.
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#15
Ottawa, Canada
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Joined Jan 2005
Thanks to all of you for the "heads up".

We will be driving a rental car around Orlando, then to Port Canaveral and back. Can anyone tell me if there is sufficient warning that a vehicle is approaching a cashless toll road before it gets past the point of no return?

We don't mind paying tolls at a booth, but would hate to be taken advantage of after the fact.
#16
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Thanks for posting the link again to the automatic toll information for rental cars. I need to really chill out. lol
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#17
Tallahassee , FL
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Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by DanJ
Some advice from the locals. I'm driving down from West Palm Beach Airport to Hollywood this Sunday (we land at noon, so I guess we'll be on the road by 1 or so after picking up the car). Do you think it's worth it to pick up one of these stick on passes to save stopping at the toll booths even though the actual toll will be less than what I pay for the transponder? I'm not sure if Sunday afternoon makes it more or less likely there will be line-ups at toll booths, or if it's even worth taking the turnpike instead of 95.

Also, do these passes work on all the Florida toll roads? I might pick one up for my wife's sister, as her family will be driving over to Port Canaveral from Orlando in April, and I beleive that is a toll road as well.
IMO on a Sunday afternoon, it's just as easy to take I-95. More than one person in the car and you can use the diamond lanes just about the whole way. You should be okay traffic wise until near Pompano and then that'll be clear by the FLL exit. You'll be in Hollywood by 2, 2:30 latest.
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#18
Redondo Beach, California
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Joined Jun 2008
I too am unfamiliar with toll roads, living in California. We had planned to drive from Fort Lauderdale to Cape Canaveral and I saw I-95 as the presumably direct route. Is this some type of a toll road? We will have a rental so I need to learn about this mysterious toll stuff. Unmarked toll roads? Sounds mean.
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#19
Melbourne, FL
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not unmarked .... unmanned.

I- anything is 95% not a toll road. I-95 in Florida is not a toll road. Florida Toll Roads are clearly labeled as such.
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#20
Melbourne, FL
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Originally posted by daisy-mae
Thanks to all of you for the "heads up".

We will be driving a rental car around Orlando, then to Port Canaveral and back. Can anyone tell me if there is sufficient warning that a vehicle is approaching a cashless toll road before it gets past the point of no return?

We don't mind paying tolls at a booth, but would hate to be taken advantage of after the fact.
Going from Orlando to Port Canaveral your exits and toll booths will all be manned expect for one on SR-528 where you'll have no reason to exit. Nothing there except a prison; not even a gas station.

Don't sweat it, but having a roll of quarters might speed things up so you can use the exact change lanes.
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Capt BJ

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