TOLLS & TRASPONDERS
The rise of all-electronic tolling across the United States has resulted in new challenges for commercial fleets:
Since Covid-19, cash use is seemingly disappearing. In many states cash is an unreliable option for payment. This leaves fleets with the need to manage multiple accounts across when running over the road fleets travelling all 48 states.
All-electronic tolling, also known as cashless tolling, is an increasingly prevalent option for toll revenue collection in the United States. There are already more than 150 All-electronic tolling facilities across the country, according to the International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike Association, and that number is rising constantly.
* The Massachusetts Department of Transportation converted to All-electronic tolling in 2016, removing toll booths and the option to pay cash. Vehicles using the turnpike can only pay via transponders or by waiting for a toll by plate invoice in the mail.
*The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission also recently accelerated its plans to go cashless in response to COVID-19.
*The New York State Thruway Authority is in the process of converting all the state’s toll roads to All-electronic tolling.
*The Kansas Turnpike Authority will convert to All- electronic tolling over the next five years.
All-electronic tolling means that there are no manned toll booths and that there is no stopping or slowing down to pay for toll. While fleet vehicles can continue to travel with or without a transponder, using an All-electronic tolling facility with a transponder helps fleets reduce toll cost, administrative fees, and delays in transaction reporting. This also means that different areas of the country require different devices.
Gaining Access to Many Toll Discounts
Many tolling authorities offer discounts for using transponders as opposed to paying via toll by plate or cash. These discounts can add up quickly for a fleet, positively impacting the bottom line and easily offsetting any service fees for transponder service.
Receiving Toll Transactions Quickly
Toll by plate transactions typically take much longer to post, and cash transactions often require receipts and back-office effort to process. If a fleet rebills its toll fees as a standard business practice, then the delay inherent in plate-based or cash transactions can disrupt accounting, resulting in, a delay in billing, or the inability to recoup the expense. With a transponder, transactions post as quickly as possible, typically within 72 hours.
Using Express and HOV Lanes
Express lanes and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, if the fleet’s vehicles are eligible to use them, often require transponders. Saving time by
using these lane options can be well worth the cost associated with transponder deployment and management.
License Plates on Tractor - EASY WAY
If a fleet uses toll transponders on a national or regional level, maintaining up-to-date vehicle lists, including license plates, is essential to fully cover the fleet’s vehicles when using tolled facilities. Many tolling authorities require transponders to be associated with vehicle plates when they are activated on the account.
License Plates on Trailers - NIGHTMARE WAY
Some tolling authorities will accept trailer plates on active accounts, but others will not. Some toll readers will capture both the license plate at the rear of the vehicle, and on the front of the vehicle, thus making it possible for toll by plate transactions to be assessed based on the trailer rather than the tractor.
But Larger trucking fleets often have multiple trailers for every tractor, adding significantly to the complexity of tracking, processing, and paying toll transactions.
Toll Management - Step by Step
The first step is compiling accurate data about all pieces of equipment and associated transponders across the entire fleet.
The second step is to cultivate a comprehensive understanding of the business rules and standard practices for each relevant tolling authority, including how vehicle lists are submitted and maintained. Some authorities provide web portals for account updates. It is also important to understand which authorities will accept trailer license plate lists and which ones require a transponder to be associated with a license plate of the tractor.
The third step is to commit to keeping fleet data as up to date as possible, including when transponders are replaced, or older pieces of equipment are swapped out for newer ones.