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O.C. Toll Roads Going Cash-Free in May

Orange County's toll road agency plans to eliminate cash toll collection from highways 73, 133, 241 and 261 in May, according to a Wednesday announcement.

It's part of a bid to draw more drivers onto the roads, Transportation Corridor Agencies CEO Neil Peterson said during a recent city council meeting.

The estimated 16 percent of drivers who pay cash to use the roads will then have five cash-free options.

Here are the five cash-free Orange County toll road options:
  • Use a FasTrak transponder. These are pre-paid and come with a small monthly fee. They work with any toll road in the state.
  • Sign up for an ExpressAccount. These are transponder-free accounts that can be paid in three ways: 1) Pay with a pre-paid account; 2) charge a credit card each time a toll is paid; 3) pay an invoice for all tolls used over the course of a month. ExpressAccount payments have no monthly maintenance fee, but the invoice option costs $2 per invoice.
  • Without any account at all, pay online within 48 hours to avoid a fine.
"I'm convinced a lot of people don't use our roads because they're just concerned—where do I get off, where do I get on, will I have exact change?" Peterson said.

The CEO said the TCA hopes to upsell ExpressAccount users with FasTrak transponders.

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David January 08, 2014 at 04:23 PM
Stupid idea. It boggles my mind. They want to encourage people, so they're eliminating the one option which would make a non-regular user feel comfortable? If I'm on vacation, and using say a rental car, there is no chance I'm going to use the toll road now. Risk getting a heavy charge for not going online right away to pay it? No thanks. Only going to result in less users of the toll road, but perhaps that's the end result they're after, because they are already losing money, and are looking for a bailout of sorts down the road.
KC January 08, 2014 at 04:58 PM
I have a feeling their data collection is going to backfire on them since the removal of the human contact will scare off older generations that do not have transponders. That and their entire pricing schedule is bad since there are so many fees, it makes the entire system seem shady. I also imagine adding more people to the unemployment pool will not win any hearts and minds as well.
MayMom January 09, 2014 at 12:40 PM
This is a very bad idea. Somebody better rethink this. These toll roads aren't used to the level they should be. Reduce the cost and keep the option for cash. More people will use them. They might actually make money and ease the traffic on the freeways.

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