Rental Cars

The pain sensation of Electronic Tolls is Gone through by Increasingly more FlyerTalk Members

The Pain of Electronic Tolls is Gone through by More and More FlyerTalk Members

“I n what might appear to be a conspiracy with a local authority along with a car rental company, FlyerTalk member milohoss was charged $25.80 by Hertz for driving a rental car across the Golden Gate Bridge – which normally charges a six dollar toll.”

This was the first paragraph of the article which I originally wrote on Sunday, May 12, 2020 – almost exactly 2 yrs ago – and today, the pain sensation of electronic tolls is gone through by increasingly more FlyerTalk members.

“Furious about this charge for not signing up for the PlatePass system, milohoss was strongly considering filing a category action lawsuit to “ban these toll scams on bridges or tunnels in which you have no other options.”

I also reported on how some FlyerTalk members chastised milohoss – who usually pays cash at toll booths and doesn't use express lanes – for not performing due diligence around the proven fact that payment of tolls around the Golden Gate Bridge are electronic without any choice to pay cash. They also asserted milohoss could have used another bridge; but milohoss argued there actually is no other choice to drive to Marin from San Francisco and that a detour via another bridge would significantly add time for you to the drive – not to mention use more fuel.

Rental Car Companies Can Benefit Handsomely

“Then in 2020, I made the completely unavoidable mistake of driving south over the now-cashless Golden Gate Bridge in a rental car”, complained FlyerTalk member bdschobel. “This time, the $7 toll require me to pay almost $40!!!!! I was really furious about that one. There was no reasonable other way with no way to pay in cash or even by credit card. This is a problem that has to have to become solved. One solution would be for the car-rental companies to charge back only their actual costs and not let third-party billing companies triple or quadruple those costs at our expense.”

Rental car companies have been getting in around the act and profiting handsomely as well by charging customers with administration and equipment fees to the point where it's perceived as gouging; and when that is not bad enough, the amount of money to pay tolls seem to keep increasing.

Even worse is that if you are unsure as to whether or otherwise you passed by a digital toll stanchion which recorded your license plate information. Ignorance isn't any excuse; so if you receive a bill as your first indication that you owe money for any toll, be ready to pay as not paying a toll may take a toll you.

Electronic Tolls: A global Issue

The Netherlands is far from the only country where electronic tolls have become pervasive to begin irritation, inconvenience, prohibitive cost and annoyance. Electronic tolls in South Africa happen to be called a type of “economic apartheid”; and also the Highway 407 Express Toll Route – which is equipped with only electronic tolls – in the Canadian province of Ontario has left many motorists financially strapped and with no legal way to register their vehicles enough where it has been deemed an “abuse of power”.

Errors in Electronic Tolling

How do you want to get a fine of $17,000.00 for $36.00 in unpaid tolls? That is what reportedly happened to one frustrated motorist who regularly commutes from Gaithersburg to Alexandria within the express lanes on the Capital Beltway in the greater Washington, D.C. area and pays the tolls together with his E-ZPass account, that is deducted automatically from his credit card.

Billing errors to motorists – which virtually didn't exist before the creation of electronic tolls – can be difficult to prove and correct; and the burden is on the motorist who will otherwise be instructed to pay more income that he or she was designed to pay.

Viable Alternatives

I have long been against the practice of tolls generally and have written extensively pertaining to this topic; but to implement electronic tolls for the convenience of only those who're willing to pay extra for that convenience is downright unfair – particularly when there is no viable alternative route…

…but if there has to be electronic tolls, then at least offer choices of options to motorists:

  • Provide at least one lane restricted to those who desire to pay their tolls with cash or credit cards
  • Offer a transponder or alternative form of payment free of charge with no administrative fees which as clear to see and employ as possible
  • Have variable tolls just for certain lanes of the highway – for example offered on certain highways within the greater Atlanta metropolitan area


Avoiding Tolls

“Is it only me or does no one else set their GPS to 'avoid tolls'. Even on the visit to Nj, passing through Ny. I did get confused since you can’t avoid a toll crossing from New Jersey to Connecticut also it was sending me completely up to Albany; but once I believed it, I reprogrammed it for your one instance and paid the toll”, advised FlyerTalk member Yellowjj. “No problems in the a long time I’ve been traveling and coping with gps.”

You can also use Google Maps as an choice to avoid tolls, as shown in the screen shot below…

Imagery (c)2020 TerraMetrics. Map data (c)2020 thanks to Google Maps. Click on this map for a bigger image.

…but be aware that Google Maps is not always accurate; so do your research. Most highways with tolls their very own Internet internet sites where you can conduct some investigation pertaining to additional information about tolls that are charged to motorists.

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