Road tolls are nothing new. In fact, over the last few years, the number of active tolls in the major world cities has significantly increased as city administrators devise various methods to ease traffic congestion and to improve road maintenance. New York State is no different as the city has also adopted this trend with the adoption of electronic toll collection.
But how does it work? Let us learn how.
What is a Toll Road?
For many who have never used a toll road before, this question raises a lot of doubts. Well, a toll road is a section of a highway that attracts a service fee from users. The service charge paid by motorists is used to maintain and keep the road in good condition all year round. Toll roads are not only found in New York, but several other states in the US and they help reduce traffic congestion during rush hours.
If a motorist uses a toll road without paying the service fee, such a violation will attract a fine charged to the vehicle’s license number. Now let us briefly review the operational functionality of toll roads.
How do Tolls work?
For decades, drivers had to pay cash to collectors at toll points to navigate toll routes, but this has changed over the last few years with the introduction of EZ Pass account for motorists. What is in vogue now is an electronic collection wireless system. This system collects tolls charges from drivers who use the routes, such as toll bridges, toll tunnels, toll roads, and HOV lanes.
This electronic technology came into effect because it is faster and eases traffic congestion as drivers do not have to stop to pay the toll using cash. With an EZ pass account, the process is relatively seamless. Also referred to as cashless tolling, most toll systems in New York use the transponders (fitted on the vehicles) to function.
When a vehicle passes through a toll, the electronic reader sends a radio signal which triggers the transponder. The transponder then transmits an identification number, which it uses to register the vehicle’s usage of the toll. Subsequently, an electronic payment system then charges the driver by deducting a fee from his or her EZ Pass.
Major Advantages of New York’s Electronic Tolls
Drivers with an EZ Pass enjoy several advantages when driving through New York’s tolls. Some notable advantages are:
#1 Reduction in traffic delays: The introduction of EZ Pass has significantly reduced traffic in the major city routes where tolls are present.
#2 Cheaper Medium: Electronic tolling has proven to be a lot cheaper than manned tolls, which have gone a long way in reducing the transactional cost for road administrators and road users.
#3 Great Pricing: As a driver, you can take advantage of varying prices across some of New York City’s major toll routes.
#4 Enjoy Discounts: If you have an EZ Pass NY, you can enjoy between 30%-50% discounts if you use it regularly.
#5 Accident reduction: Occasions of crashes are greatly reduced due to toll roads. Road accidents often happen when there are so many cars moving in the same direction at the same time. With toll roads, however, only motorists willing to pay the toll fare navigate through these routes. This creates a free flow of traffic, thereby reducing potential crashes.
Ways to pay your toll
There are quite a few ways to pay your tolls, and they are:
- Paying your toll with an EZ Pass (enjoy a discount of between 30%-50% on charges)
- Tolls by mail where you receive the bill to your address
- Pay Toll now where the charge is debited from your bank checking account
Also Read: How to Avoid Toll Roads in New York?
Steps to take before using a toll road
Before you journey through a toll road, there are certain necessary steps to take to avoid toll violations and expected sanctions.
- Check the route on online maps before you start the journey
Before you leave home, check the route you intend to pass through to see if there is one or more toll on the way. The best way to do this is to use navigation apps on your mobile device. A navigation app will show you where the tolls are located and how many of them you will encounter on your journey.
- Payment method
EZ Pass toll plazas in New York all use electronic payment procedures, but there are still a few that use traditional service personnel for cash collection purposes. You need to find out the payment procedure before the time. If the toll only uses a cashless method, you will need an EZ Pass account to avoid incurring a penalty. If the toll uses both a cash and a cashless option, endeavor to hold sufficient cash in hand to pay the toll fee if you do not have an EZ Pass account.
- Check the EZ Pass website
To get accurate and first-hand information about tolls, you may also visit the EZ Pass website or the NYSTA website to know more. These websites have an abundance of information relating to all the toll roads in New York. Information about their locations, payment options, and toll fees are all available to visitors seeking out information.
- Ensure that your EZ Pass account has sufficient balance
Also, make sure that your EZ Pass account has a sufficient balance in it before embarking on the journey. The good thing about EZ Pass is that you can always check your account balance and other related information via the EZ Pass website. If your balance is insufficient, endeavor to credit it with funds either with your checking account or your credit or debit card.
If you live outside of New York and you will be visiting the Empire State soon, make sure you load your EZ Pass account with sufficient balance to cover toll costs, so you do not incur traffic violations.