---Electronic payment schemes and implications for rental cars.---
Florida (and particularly the Central Florida/ Orlando area) has a fantastic road network, with the (free-to-use) I4 as it's central spine. An integral part of this excellent infrastructure is the toll road network (Florida Turnpike System). The toll roads are frequently the shortest route from A to B and can tend to have less traffic on them which can reduce travel times and make for a more pleasant journey. The tolls are not very expensive, but costs can mount up on long and/ or frequent journeys, but there are always alternative routes avoiding toll roads.
A number of Florida's main thoroughfares (e.g. 528 Beachline Expressway from Orlando to the east coast) are adding express lanes which have dynamically priced tolls (vary according to time-of-day and congestion). Find out more here. These lanes require a Sunpass to use - they do not take cash or Toll-By-Plate.
Payment at tolls is typically through cash or through an electronic payment method (typically Sunpass, EPass or Toll-By-Plate) which also allows passage through toll booths without having to stop. For cash payments there is normally an 'exact change' lane with a blue sign (throw your payment - in coins- in to a basket) and staffed 'change provided' lanes with a green sign. Not all entrance/ exit ramp toll plazas are manned 24/7 so it is always a good idea to have change with you when you are using the toll roads.
If you are planning to travel to the Miami-Dade area you should note that all Turnpike tolls are collected electronically between the U.S. 1 (Exit 1) and County Line Road (Exit 47) interchanges in Miami-Dade County, and cash tolls are not accepted. Motorists will use either SunPass or TOLL-BY-PLATE. It is expected that this policy of no-cash will extend to other toll roads over the next few years.
Electronic payment schemes and implications for rental cars.
If you are planning to use the toll roads around Miami-Dade, if you expect to use the toll roads frequently or if you just want to avoid having to use cash when taking advantage of the Turnpike system, mini and portable transponders and top-ups can be purchased from a range of locations including Publix supermarkets (of which there are two within 5 minutes of our villa). Follow this Sunpass link for more information and for locations where temporary/ permanent Sunpass transponders can be purchased.
The car hire companies also offer (for a cost) electronic toll payment to allow you to use the 'drive through without stopping' lanes and to either pre or post pay the toll costs (it varies by company). They use a mixture of pre-pay (e.g. Sunpass) and post-pay systems (e.g. Toll-By-Plate), but this does not impact on the hirer of the vehicle. The rental companies will typically charge a daily charge for use of the electronic systems whether they are used on toll roads or not and some require you to opt out (i.e. actually tell them you do not want the toll payment facility) or charges will automatically be raised against your credit card, even if you use the payment lanes. There can also, with some companies, be administration charges if the toll payment option is declined.
Check out this link specifically relating to rental cars from the Sunpass site to see what the charges and policies are from the major rental car companies and whether you have to opt-in/ opt-out of usage of their toll payment schemes.
We would strongly recommend you visit this page to understand your options (e.g. the particular companies opt-in or out and other policies) and potential charges for accepting/ declining toll payment before you pick up your rental car.
For more information
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