Monday, April 20, 2009

Cash-free toll booths

You have entered 76,012 Bills worth $223,431
Bills with hits: 6,231 Total hits: 7,082
Hit rate: 8.20% Slugging Percentage: 9.32% (total hits/total bills)
George Score: 1,221.79
Your rank (based on George Score) is #316
(out of 52,495 current users with a George Score. [99.4 Percentile])
Your State Rank in Florida is: 24 out of 7,549 [99.7]
Your initial entries with hits have traveled a total of 3,255,349 miles.
They have averaged 467.6 miles per hit and 180.97 days between each hit.

I read an article today that Florida expressways are going cashless. I find this disturbing on several levels. First (and most obviously) because I can’t pay cash. I kind of like being able to get cash into circulation and toll booths are a great way to do that. Someone else gets the bill and takes it somewhere you might not be going.

Cash is universal. Everyone has access to it. The plan is to get people to use a transponder. Florida’s is called the SunPass. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t operate by the same standard that other states’ transponders operate, meaning that people from other states can’t use their transponders.

What do tourists do when they come to a toll booth? According to the article, people renting cars can pass through and have the bill sent to them. I’m not sure what locals will do. Right now, there are only certain toll booths that will be SunPass only. I’m hoping that there will be some warning so that you can exit before the toll booth.

This could be an even bigger issue if you’re borrowing a car. Suppose I use a neighbor’s car. Is it fair that I could go through all sorts of toll booths and have him fined for it? Should I be forced to find toll-free routes to avoid this? Lending out cars just got a lot more complicated.

More basically, why should I be forced to get a transponder? What if I don’t want to? Do I have to get off before the toll booth and get back on? I just don’t like this. I’m going to ask the Florida Department of Transportation about this and see what they say.

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