Grand Theft Auto

Nonsensical surcharges for road tolls

Editorial, The Dallas Morning News

Using local toll roads can be a royal pain in the tailpipe for rental-car drivers.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Many rental companies are the culprits here and should quit looking at Dallas-Fort Worth customers like they are a bunch of suckers.

Here's how the public gets hosed: Some stretches of road controlled by the North Texas Tollway Authority are equipped with cameras – not coin baskets – for toll collection. If a driver doesn't have a TollTag to accept automatic charges, a camera shoots the license plate.

Regular drivers get a bill in the mail. Rental drivers might get an awful surprise on their credit card statement in the form of hefty "administrative" fees imposed courtesy of their rent agreement.

Thus, a few dollars in tolls can turn into hundreds of dollars of charges against the unsuspecting customer.

Read the whole story HERE.


Anonymous said...

I avoided toll roads like the plague in Florida because of the whole rental car toll road overcharging fiasco in Dallas. Why should I pay $200 for a $2 toll? This said, the Florida toll authority treats its visitors with much more respect. My rental car came with a toll tag pre-attached. No need to buy a damn $20 TaX Tag for the rental car in advance as I've heard is necessary in Dallas. Second, there was another sticker in the car, clearly disclosing that the surcharge would be $1.50 per day on days that the SunPass was used and $0 on days it wasn't. Honesty and a reasonably surcharge- imagine that. But there's still one mystery- how much do the tolls themselves cost per highway? Why can't the rental car company include a booklet in the contract or post another sticker showing average toll costs per highway on the windshield?

Anonymous said...

Three days ago I got back from a trip to Philadelphia. My family rented a car to travel up the PA turnpike to northeastern Pennsylvania. The Budget rental car had a device on the windshield, a box, which if you pushed this button over, you could use the EPass lane, and be charged through the rental company...basically, get a bill in the mail. However, to avoid this altogether, we opted to not use the EPass box on our car, and just pay cash at the booth. Imagine...CASH AT THE BOOTH! It cost us $6.25 to drive 110.6 miles. That is 5 to 6 cents per mile. Now, I hate toll roads like the rest of Texas, but using the PA Turnpike to travel between two cities quickly (not a daily commute), and paying a relatively low rate, directly at the source, without any fees or bills, is pretty easy for an "out-of-towner" like me.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I would have paid cash in Florida if I had to use the toll roads. No sense opening myself up for hidden charges.

Anonymous said...

on a recent visit to Miami, all the tollways i had to use had cash options. and man there were ALOT of toll booths i had to go through. that place is filled with tollways!

Anonymous said...

south beach, coconut grove, and downtown, and the road to FLL airport didn't, thankfully. Not a single tollbooth. Drove on Hwy 1 to Key West as well without paying a toll.