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Car rental companies automatic toll charges

Michigan
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Car rental companies automatic toll charges

I noticed when I rented from Dollar they mention that toll booths are going to a cashless system and you should buy the automatic pass when you rent a car. Is that true or just a way for the car rental agencies to sell another option?

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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1. Re: Car rental companies automatic toll charges

The rental car toll systems are a just a convenience unless you wll be driving on one of several toll roads (mainly in Miami and Tampa) that are "cashless"; that is, they only accept electronic tolls via billing based upon a video image of your license plate number or via an electronic transponder in your vehicle.

On most toll roads, you can still pay cash by going through the booths. If there are queues at the booths, the electronic systems will save you time, because you can just drive through the electronic lanes.

Some visitors don't realize that they have to pull off, usually to the right, of the main highway, to pay tolls if they don't have the electronic system in their car. There are many stories of drivers getting notices that they sped through a toll plaza on the electronic lanes without paying, and the cameras recorded their violation.

If you are renting from Dollar/Thrifty, you must be particularly careful. If you accept their toll option, it has been $7 a day or $36 a week. That buys you unlimited toll payments, but that is overkill for most tourists. In most cases, the cash payment of tolls actually used will be a fraction of that.

However, if you do not accept the toll option and then try to use it, either deliberately or because you mistakenly drive through an electronic lane, you will find that each toll will have a $25 penalty added to it, so four tolls for 75 cents turn into a bill for $103, added to your credit card.

Other rental car companies have better deals for their convenient toll options, but all carry some kind of fee; for example, Alamo charges the actual tolls plus $2 a day for each day the system is actually used.

Michigan
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2. Re: Car rental companies automatic toll charges

Thanks for your quick and informative response. We did get caught once in Colorado. We accidentally took an exit and when we tried to re-enter we didn't have the change. Sure enough we got the ticket with a $25 upcharge. Another time in Orlando Dollar tried to say that we did that at the MCO airport. Only problem was at the time they said we did it we were on a cruise ship. They did take that charge off.

I forgot to say that we are just going to Ft Myers Beach and I wonder how many tolls we would actually have. Also, Dollar made it sound like most places are changing to a cashless system and we wouldn't have the option of paying cash.

Thanks again for your help. I hate to think how much money I would have wasted if not for Tripadvisor.

Orlando
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3. Re: Car rental companies automatic toll charges

The only toll road that I have ever used in Ft Myers was the bridge to Sanibel. That is $6. The only other toll that I can think of is if you use the Alligator Alley to travel from Naples to Miami. If I'm wrong, please correct me.

Now, Orlando is a different story lol.

Cocoa Beach, Florida
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4. Re: Car rental companies automatic toll charges

Also the Midpoint Bridge at Veterans Pkwy, and the Cape Coral Bridge. The last time I was over there, they both allowed cash payments, as does the Sanibel Bridge. To be sure, you could check the Lee County Toll Road (Leeway) website. on the Gulf side, the only place to heed is the Crosstown Expressway in Tampa, which is cashless. In Orlando, I've never seen a cashless toll booth, but there are some that require exact change, which can have the same effect if you have no coins.

If you do have to go through an exact change booth, call the toll road customer service number as soon as possible, and you can usually avoid the penalty charge on your private vehicle. With a rental car, it might be more difficult.

5. Re: Car rental companies automatic toll charges

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