Lauren Hakos, public affairs and marketing manager for the Ohio Turnpike Commission, said Monday plans are still in effect to implement the EZPass electronic toll system on Thursday, Oct. 1.
The same time E-ZPass goes into effect, the commission will begin a two-tiered toll structure designed to encourage use of the electronic system.
To use E-ZPass, a motorist must obtain a device called a transponder. About the size of a deck of cards, it can be attached to a vehicle windshield.
As a vehicle rolls slowly through a toll lane, a device called a reader will trade radio signals with the transponder, identifying the motorist.
The system then automatically deducts the toll from the motorist’s account. The vehicle does not have to come to a complete stop, but must slow until a gate opens.
E-ZPass starts with a $25 charge to a credit card. When the balance reaches $10, the credit card is charged $25, which goes into the E-ZPass account.
Customers will be charged 75 cents per month to rent the EZPass transponder.
Transponders can either be obtained through the OTC website, www.ohioturnpike.org, or by calling 1-88TURNPIKE (888-876-7453).
A p – plica- tions for E-ZPass
be available in toll booths and service plazas.
Hakos said at least two thirds of turnpike interchanges will have at least one dedicated E-ZPass lane, but all lanes will be capable of accepting E-ZPass customers.
Smaller interchanges with less traffic will not have dedicated E-ZPass lanes.
E-ZPass transponders will work with other state’s toll roads, including Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The current toll structure has 11 vehicle classifications, based on weight.
The new structure has only seven vehicle classifications, based on height and number of axles. Hakos said the new system was required to work with E-ZPass.
Under the new system there are low and high vehicles, with 7 feet, 6 inches being the cutoff.
Passenger car, motorcycle, and light truck tolls will remain unchanged, “and that’s locked in until 2012,” Hakos said.
For a trip from Archbold (Exit 25) to Maumee (Exit 59), the fare will be $1.50 for an EZPass customer.
The same trip without EZPass will be $2.
An 80,000-pound semi, which will be a Class 5 truck in the new toll structure, currently pays $4.75 to make the same trip. After E-ZPass goes into operation, a semi with a transponder will save 25 cents, paying a $4.50 toll.
Without E-ZPass, a semi going from Archbold to Maumee will pay $5.50.
Under the present toll structure, it currently costs an 80,000-pound semi $33.50 to cross Ohio on the turnpike. With E-ZPass, the fare is reduced to $32; semis without EZPass will pay $40 to cross the state after the toll increase.
Along with the new fees, truck drivers with overweight or oversized vehicles can get special permits to travel the turnpike at reduced cost by obtaining their permits in advance.
Automated Toll Payment
Automated Toll Payment systems are being installed at turnpike toll booths, including Exit 25.
The system allows drivers to insert coins, bills, or credit cards to pay their tolls. There is also a button and speaker system to call for assistance.
Does this mean the end of toll collectors at Exit 25?
“Not necessarily,” Hakos said.
“It depends on the time of day and the traffic. We’ll know after the system is up and running.”
Automated Toll Payment goes into effect with E-ZPass.- David Pugh