PA Turnpike Approves ‘Cashless’ Rates for Western PA Roads
New E-ZPass and TOLL BY PLATE tolls to take effect Oct. 27.
HARRISBURG, PA. (July 17, 2019) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) today announced new toll rates for three “cashless” tolling facilities in western PA which are outside the Turnpike’s east-west mainline system.
The new rates, approved by the commission yesterday, will take effect at the eastbound Gateway tolling point at milepost 2 on Interstate 76 in Lawrence County and at PA Turnpike 66, the Greensburg (Amos K. Hutchinson) Bypass in Westmoreland County upon their conversion to cashless (or all-electronic) tolling on Oct. 27.
The PTC also approved new toll rates for PA Turnpike 376, (the Beaver Valley Expressway) in Beaver and Lawrence counties, which was converted to cashless tolling in April 2017. (Although the Beaver Valley Expressway was previously converted to cashless, no TOLL BY PLATE increases have yet been implemented.)
The new rates for these three cashless facilities include a 6 percent toll increase for E-ZPass users, corresponding to the increase that will occur on other PA Turnpike sections in 2020. PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE users will see a sizable increase depending on the location.
The toll for a two-axle passenger vehicle at Gateway, for example, will increase Oct. 27 from $7.90 to $12.20. The new TOLL BY PLATE rates reflect associated invoice-processing and collections costs. The E-ZPass rate at Gateway will increase to $5.50 to $5.90. Charts showing new rates at the three cashless locations can be found here. (No increases will be applied at these locations in January 2020.)
With the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE option, high-speed cameras capture license-plate images as vehicles pass by. The registered owner receives an invoice for trips made through the tolling point. Invoices can be paid online, by phone or by mail. Upon receipt of a TOLL BY PLATE invoice, recipients do have an option to open an E-ZPass account and pay the lower rate.
“The PTC’s four cashless tolling projects implemented in 2016, ‘17 and ‘18 have provided a clearer picture of the actual cost of collections associated with the TOLL BY PLATE program,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Without a doubt, E-ZPass, used by nearly 85 percent of Turnpike travelers, will continue to be the least-expensive option and the only one accepted everywhere on our system.”
Cashless tolling has been adopted by dozens of United States toll agencies due to the improved safety and mobility it provides. Everyone pays electronically without stopping. All motorists benefit from the convenience of uninterrupted travel. Plus, interchange safety is improved since cash and E-ZPass drivers no longer dart across traffic to reach the correct tollbooth lane.
Compton encouraged travelers to consider E-ZPass, since it is the most convenient and least costly way to travel in Pennsylvania and can be used in 16 other states including all neighboring states. “With hundreds of grocery stores in the commonwealth offering E-ZPass, chances are you pass by at least one of them every day,” Compton said. “Because of our low enrollment and administration fees, and the ability to set up an automatically replenished or cash-funded E-ZPass account, there’s simply no reason not to get it.”
Most of PA’s top grocery chains offer E-ZPass GoPaks, including Giant Eagle, Acme, Giant Food Stores and Wegmans. In addition, travelers can pick up an E-ZPass GoPak — which includes a transponder that must be registered before it’s used — at all 17 Turnpike rest stops and Pennsylvania AAA offices. To find a location nearby, visit https://www.paturnpike.com/toll/sales.aspx.
The PTC will soon offer yet another option to pay tolls: a smartphone app that will allow Turnpike travelers to use their connected devices to pay less. “We’ve partnered with a private company which is developing a GPS-triggered app to help motorists save some money,” Compton said. “The app, which may be fully tested and ready by the end of the calendar year, will offer lower rates than cash and TOLL BY PLATE, though E-ZPass will still be the most inexpensive option.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here for soundbites and b-roll with PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton regarding toll increases.