Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Tollways Not Accepting Cash- Electronic Payment Only

Tollways Not Accepting Cash- Electronic Payment Only

The NTTA, North Texas Tollway Authority, has agreed to move forward with their plan to get rid of all the cash booths by 2010.  Instead of the people without TollTags to pay cash, the booth will take a picture of the license plate and mail the owner a bill for driving through. 

This sounds like a great way to get traffic moving smoother, and in that aspect, it's great!  The downside to this is that when they mail the bill, there is a service fee tacked on including the amount it costs to mail the bill.  Does that make sense?  Instead of it costing $0.75 at the main booth, it'll cost close to $2.  Instead of $0.40 at the intermediate booths, it'll cost about a buck fifty.  Does that make sense??

Also, did the NTTA take into account the amount of out of towners and rental car drivers?  If someone is in town for only a few days, are they going to get home to a bill that has tons of service fees on it?  Does that sound fair for the great state of Texas?  Also, what about those people who have cars in the shop and need to rent a car for a couple of days.  Tolltags are not transferable to another car as they track the tag with the license plate.  You could get a ticket when they don't match.  So, when you rent a car, you're going to get penalized on the tollways...

Does that sound fair?  I wonder if the NTTA people really thought this through enough.  What do you other Texas drivers think?

Comment balloon 17 commentsDonna Harris • August 15 2007 03:57PM

Comments

Well, I'm not in TX, but I'm not far away. At first glance, this seems like a great idea, but you bring up some great points. They can't possible track down everyone by license plate. Rental cars would be tough, as would Dealer tags and cars that haven't yet been licensed. Keep us posted on how this goes.
Posted by Ryan Hukill - Edmond, Realtor, Team Lead (ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite) about 11 years ago
Not from Texas but we are facing "Congestion Pricing" for driving into Manhattan.  My question is if these tolls are manned by people or are they the ones with the baskets that catch your change.  In any event this is the dawn of the electronic society.  The powers that be will be able to track our lives and every step and the people who serviced those toll-booths either by taking tolls or emptying the machines should be looking for new jobs. I guess they will out-source the bills like they are trying to do everything else. "Cash accepted here only" will be the new signs we find in stores and all the others will take debit/credit as the norm.
Posted by Sharon "Toni" Brown, South Ozone Park - New York City Real Estate (Exit Realty United) about 11 years ago

Ryan, they will send the bill to the registered person, which would be the dealer or the rental place, and then the bill will be passed along to the person who had the car on that day.

Sharon, We're talking about both people and the baskets.  They did away with many of the people about a year ago and went to exact change only.  Now, they're getting rid of the people who still remain in booths who will make change, plus getting rid of the baskets for exact change.  The report said there would be 400 people they would have to find new positions for... 400 people!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) about 11 years ago

Here in the Chicago area, we have the  electronic payment IPASS.  The catch here is that if you don't have one you pay double at the toll.  This is also a really brilliant plan for the tourists. 

You don't have one so we are going to stick it to you, come back to Chicago real soon!!!

Posted by Richard Parr, Home Security Specialist - Greater New Orleans, Louisiana (ADT Security Services) about 11 years ago
Actually, I think it would be a paper mess. You would have to hire staff to collect, right ? Why, not just give the regular travelers from TX a lane and pass code.
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 11 years ago

Richard, we also had a system where the people without the tolltag paid a higher price which was supposed to get more people to buy them, but it really didn't.

Missy, I agree that it's going to be a complete paper mess...  I can't imagine how they plan on doing it.  Billing each time or monthly?  Who knows.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) about 11 years ago

Here, they built the tollroads (over great protest, by the way), have lanes for people to pay with cash, EXCEPT for one stretch on one tollroad - you can get on it and pay a toll, but you're not supposed to use the one part in the middle unless you have a TxTag.  Brilliant planning - their excuse?  "We don't have room for a toll booth plaza on that part." 

I don't know what planet the planners of the toll roads in Texas live on, but I know I don't want to live there, or even visit!

 

Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) about 11 years ago

DH,

The Jettson Era is offically upon us...

Posted by Scott Daniels Florida Real Estate 2.0. Agents Earn 100% Commission. (Florida List For Less Realty, Inc. Broker/Owner. ) about 11 years ago

Tricia, we have that on all our tollways.  There are always 2-3 lanes each way dedicated to TOLLTAG ONLY.  You just drive through at regular speed and don't have to worry about squeezing by the small amount of space they give with the booths.  But, by 2010, those other booths will be gone.

Scott, So you're saying that the flying cars are finally coming??!!  I can't wait to get my wings and make my way around town in warp speed!!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) about 11 years ago

I think this is a great idea!  The majority of people who drive the tollways have Tolltags in Dallas so this is good.  NTTA has already used the Zip Lanes for a few months ago on the downtown toll plaza during construction and they got bills to everyone without a tolltag. 

Even though they say the tags aren't transferable, I still use my Tolltag when I'm in a rental car and I've never had a problem for that short of time period. 

Posted by Linda Box Taylor, Your Plano, TX Realtor (Castle Connections Realty) about 11 years ago
Linda, I agree that it's great and it flowed traffic well... I just don't think it's "fair" that out of staters and rental car people (who won't/can't take their tag from their cars) are charged so much extra for the processing fee.
Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) about 11 years ago

Donna, I didn't make myself clear.  All the toll roads have the three lanes that are TxTag only, then they have the booths that are cash (and the occasional TxTag only for those entering at that point).  A efw have change machines for the cash lanes instead of people.  Except that this one road has the booths that you have to go through to pay if you're paying cash, as well as the TxTag only lanes, and then you're tooling along the tollway for a couple of miles and they want you to get off if you don't have a TxTag because they "didn't have room" to put a cash booth at that one particular entrance or something dumb like that.  Um, planning, anyone?  It was immediately pointed out before they even opened when this plan became known that this was going to cause problems for visitors, but that seems to have gone right past them. 

 

Posted by Tricia Jumonville, Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense (Bradfield Properties) about 11 years ago
Tricia, That makes more sense now... the actual building it that way doesn't make sense, but your description makes sense.
Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) about 11 years ago

My only thought is this: "Is this what we signed on for?"

Tollways are going to get out of control. Utilization of toll raods is a tax increase because the state is not spending our money on roads.

 

Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) about 11 years ago
Hi Donna,
Your post reminds me (not that I often forget) how thankful I am to live in an area where there are no toll roads/booths.  
Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, RealtorĀ® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) about 11 years ago
The idea of speed is a good one; their plan to carry it out is bad. They should have a machine that reads your credit/debit card and charges you instantly. That would make it so much easier than mailing bills out.
Posted by Danielle V. Lewis, DDR Realty (DDR Realty) about 11 years ago

Cynthia, it used to be annoying, but there is typically less traffic because not everyone is willing to pay to drive.

Danielle, They already have that in place which is the Tolltag that I mentioned.  Many people still do not have Tolltags even though the first Tollway has been around since about the '60s.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) about 11 years ago

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