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Old 04-02-2015, 12:15 AM   #1
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Default E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

We make frequent RV trips to Indianapolis and Washington, DC every year. That always entails driving around or through Chicago and to get to DC across Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania on toll roads. They all use E-ZPass as do just about the whole northeast of the United States. While on the Ohio Turnpike I picked up a transponder at at service plaza and finally got around to activating it. Let me tell you, it is and ain't easy. First, all the states give information out for their own residents and assume you are a daily commuter. Information for out of staters is practically nonexistent. Ohio just suggest you contact your state. My state of Minnesota has no toll roads and no one to contact. Secondly, they just say the transponder is for passenger vehicles and to contact them for commercial vehicles. Not a word on vans or RVs.

I took a flyer on Ohio simply because I could buy the transponder for $12 conveniently, their sign-up was easy online and they have a reasonable 75 cent per month service charge. They automatically reload your account from your charge card in $25 increments. The Indiana site was uncontactable when I tried and Illinois was confusing. So, I signed up with Ohio. Then when I checked my account it said passenger vehicles less than 7,000 lbs, 2 axles and 4 tires. Wha!!!! I have six tires but am legally 6,999 lbs (before conversion). Also, when driving, we are a passenger vehicle. One vexing problem we have always had in every state was inconsistent charges from toll booth to toll booth and really never knew what we had to pay. So, I called and asked if I was legal with the transponder I bought and registered. They said no problem. They can detect what vehicle you have as you pass through and charge accordingly. So I said, OK, and left it at that.

No longer do we have to carry exact change for the coin toss in booths. No longer do we have to guess what our charges are, fumble around and have money ready for the toll booth collector. No longer do we get shuttled off to the far right off the main freeway to pay. No longer do we have to wait in long lines to pay. Just drive right through. Love it. I don't care what they charge. I just want that time saving convenience. It was a pleasant and smug drive home yesterday and today through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Every time the gate automatically went up felt like a win.
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

Great thing the passes, and they are usually a lot cheaper than the cash price, something like 1/2 sometimes, I think. We got ours for the east/south trip last year and burned through over $50 worth.

There is one advantage to getting the Illinois pass (I think it is Ipass), as it covers all the EZ Pass roads, and also the stuff in Illinois. I think the EZ Pass only works on one or two of the Illinois tolls. I am sure others who have traveled more in those areas would know if there are other differences.

We ran into several areas where you could not pay with cash, so you were out of luck if you wanted to go on that road, unless you just accepted the mailed bill and huge price.
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

ez pass mass residents transponder free
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Old 04-02-2015, 01:05 AM   #4
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Default Re: E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

I believe Illinois IPass and E-ZPass are one and the same as far as use goes. On some they had the IPass/E-ZPass combined signs. We had no problem coming through today. We also went across the sky bridge on E-ZPass. I'll check my account tomorrow and see what transpired for costs. Saving money was not my criteria but that would be a nice benefit. I can afford the tolls but I found myself always plotting and looking for routes around toll ways even if they were longer in distance. I just hated to the toll booths. You can be in a van and the ticket comes out the lower slot where you have to practically climb out the van window to get it.
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Old 04-02-2015, 01:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerrym51
ez pass mass residents transponder free
You can spend time going through all the different states to see what kind of deal you can get. The Ohio one was at a service center on the toll road and in hand and the sign up online made it instantly usable. A lot of states you had to sign up and wait for a transponder to arrive at your home. That was impossible for us since we were on the road when we decided to pull the trigger.

I read through some of the states' criteria and how they classified your RV and it was confusing. Also, as I mentioned I got charged differently at toll booths in the same state on the same road subjectively. I assume once you have a transponder you might get more consistency and I assume the states will honor each other on that. Or, like the person told me on the phone, they can determine your vehicle automatically. This is all new for me and I am curious to find out how it works.

This last trip we had E-ZPass tolls in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. It wasn't until Monday I activated it and used it in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois yesterday and today.
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Old 04-02-2015, 02:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

Thanks for that information, David. Makes one ponder ... should I join the E-ZPass crowd.
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Old 04-02-2015, 02:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

E-Zpass is great because you can use it in so many states. But if you got to Florida it doesn't work. You either get a Sun-Pass or just use the lane where they send a bill to the tag's address. Some places on the turnpike down to the keys there were no lanes to use money - just the Sun=Pass or the photo your tag and send you a bill. It's a bit more expensive that way - around $2 on $8 worth of tolls each way.
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Old 04-02-2015, 02:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

Mikes47,

I think Michigan is like Minnesota. You don't have E-ZPass in your state so you are free to pick another source. Ohio, as I mentioned, was very easy. Every service center rest stop has a place right inside the door selling the transponders and you could sit down on the Internet with your computer or tablet and sign up right there.
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Old 04-02-2015, 02:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

We do the same drive that David did many times per year and enjoy the same feelings. But we found about the pass many years ago. So we have had more pleasure out of it.

We did have one problem. Our bank issued an new credit card due to a fraud alert and the state did not automatically pick up the change. Our pass had been issued by Indiana. On a trip through Chicago we went through a bunch of the high speed lanes that do not have gates. So we did not know we had a problem.

A few weeks after we got back we had a bill from Indiana for $370, for the toll and a fine. We did get it resolved and only needed to pay the tolls. So if you have a pass and have a major change to the associated credit card, I suggest you check your account and update the card info.
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Old 04-04-2015, 02:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: E-ZPass. Should have done this year's ago

There is a definite benefit to having an E-ZPass transponder other than convenience. I just reviewed my bill online from driving from Cleveland through to Wisconsin on the toll roads. The total charges were $16.95. Paying at the toll booths normally cost around $20 + or - just getting through and around Chicago. Yep, should have done this year's ago.
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