When it comes to tolled road miles, no state in the U.S does it better than Florida. E-Pass and SunPass are both toll transponders that road users usually mix up and use interchangeably.
Are they the same? In some ways. Talk about two phones from different manufacturers. They are both phones, and they both perform the same functions.
However, that doesn’t make them identical. The same goes for E-Pass and SunPass. Let’s go deeper into this.
E-Pass vs. SunPass – What’s The Difference?
E-Pass and SunPass are two of the biggest transponders in Florida. These devices are installed on a car’s windshield, and as the car goes through a toll gate, these devices transmit data through radio frequency to the toll booth.
The information transmitted is authorization to the toll booth to make a debit transaction from the driver’s prepaid account. These two are the primary methods for collecting tolls across the U.S.
Let’s talk about their differences.
The Central Florida Expressway Authority issues the E-Pass while the SunPass is issued by the Florida Department of Transportation (Florida’s turnpike electronic payment system).
Despite having different sources, both toll transponders are valid for use across several roads within America.
This is a similarity as much as it is also a difference. The similarity here is that both toll transponders have two types of gadgets.
For the SunPass, these gadgets are the SunPass Mini and the SunPass portable. These devices are very lightweight and small enough to fit in your pocket.
They’re usually installed inside the windshield just by the rearview mirror.
On the other hand, the E-Pass has the E-Pass Xtra, which is valid for use across every toll road and express lane within 18 states in the U.S.
The other gadget is the E-Pass Uni, which has more limited access; it covers the express lanes and toll roads in North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
The E-Pass has been in existence before SunPass. It was launched in 1994 by a defunct government body called Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.
The first set of E-Passes manufactured was so bulky that they could be mistaken for bricks. These E-Passes were installed under the front bumpers of cars.
On the flip side, the SunPass was invented in 1999, five years after the E-Pass came into existence. Unlike the E-Pass, the founder of SunPass is still active to date.
On its launch, SunPass received strong backing from American lawmakers who insisted that SunPass must co-exist with E-Pass.
It will be correct to say that SunPass and E-Pass are two of the biggest toll transponders brands in the U.S. However, they’re not on the same level as “big.”
While the E-Pass has a user base of over 800,000 people, the SunPass has a user base of more than 13 million. That’s more than 10x of the user base size of E-Pass.
This is astonishing, considering that E-Pass has five years on SunPass.
Areas of Jurisdiction
Since E-Pass is under the Central Florida Expressway Authority, we’ll look at the agency’s jurisdiction. It’s mainly within Orange County, but its jurisdiction extends to Osceola, Lake, Seminole, and Brevard counties.
For SunPass, we’ll look at the jurisdiction under the Florida Department of Transportation. It covers every toll road from Southern Miami to Jacksonville. Both transponders have intersecting jurisdictions in some areas as well.
This is a similarity and also a difference. Both transponders have customer service centers that field road users’ complaints and issues.
In the case of E-Pass, some commissioners and mayors constitute part of the board’s membership. Their offices handle issues, inquiries, and complaints from motorists using E-Pass.
Their average response time to incoming calls in the service center is 17 seconds.
On the other hand, SunPass issuer is partly administered by some American lawmakers. They handle the complaints from motorists using SunPass.
There’s no official information on their average response time to incoming calls in the service center.
This is perhaps the most obvious difference between both transponders.
The expressway authority surveyed motorists using E-Pass, and the results of that study showed that an overwhelming majority were satisfied with the services provided by the transponder brand.
On the other hand, SunPass didn’t fare well from the results of their customer feedback. SunPass is described as lacking efficiency.
From the survey, the significant issues pointed out system blackouts and delays in garage exits.
Where to Buy E-Pass & SunPass?
Both transponders are readily available for sale offline and online. E-Pass can be purchased via different means.
You can buy E-Pass on Amazon, on the issuer’s website, at walk-in, via a handling fee, and at drive-up centers.
For SunPass, you can purchase it on the issuer’s website, at Walgreens, Publix, at walk-in, through tax collectors, in about 2,700 retail stores, and even at welcome centers.
E-Pass vs. SunPass Cost
While the E-Pass base sticker model is free of charge, the SunPass base sticker model costs $4.95. Both transponders’ sticker models work on North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida toll roads.
EPass Uni is valid across toll roads in 19 states and costs $14.95. Its college pass costs $18.50. You can purchase SunPass Pro for $14.95, which works across 19 states.
E-Pass vs. SunPass Discounts
E-Pass has an active discount policy that their loyal users or customers enjoy. It offers between 10-15% discount on regular prices for its frequent users.
On the other hand, SunPass has no active discount policy.
Which is Better: E-Pass or SunPass?
This is usually the hard part, but we’ll make it easy. We can’t tell you which of them is better. From the article, it’s apparent that they both have arguments for and against them.
They compare well against each other, and there are certain benefits to be enjoyed from both. The choice is down to your preference.
They have almost the same jurisdiction, but the discount E-Pass offers its frequent users is hard to pass up. Still, the choice is yours to make.