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SIGNS ON THE TOLL ROADS ARE GOING PURPLE

IMG_0344%20%28Small%29In anticipation of The Toll Roads removing cash toll collection on May 14 at 12:01 a.m., 121 new signs are being installed on the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads.

The new signs are purple, which is the color increasingly being used by tolling agencies across the nation to indicate that a road and/or lanes are tolled electronically.

The move to purple signage for all-electronic toll lanes started in 1991 in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.  In 2008, the Federal Highway Administration officially supported the use of the color purple for electronic toll collection signs to facilitate smooth vehicle flow and eliminate driver confusion.

IMG_0339%20%28Small%29The new signs on The Toll Roads indicate that all drivers now use the former “FasTrak® Only” lanes.  The appropriate tolls will be deducted from the FasTrak or ExpressAccount™ (charge, prepaid or invoice) the vehicle is registered to.  If the driver does not have an account, they can use TheTollRoads.com or our free app to pay a One-Time-Toll™ within 48 hours after the trip.

The new One-Time-Toll signs have a blue background indicative of informational road signs and display our website where users can go to pay One-Time-Toll. Of the 121 new signs, 32 are One-Time-Toll signs.

Drivers who fail to pay a toll using one of the five, abovementioned options will receive a violation notice.

The signs will continue to be installed at night over the next several weeks.

OTT-SB241-Tomato_Springs-20140415In January, The Toll Roads introduced more ways to pay tolls to replace cash toll collection. Along with the hugely-popular FasTrak payment method, the three new ExpressAccount types make the drive on The Toll Roads fast and convenient — and most importantly — nonstop. With FasTrak and ExpressAccounts, all tolls are collected electronically while motorists travel at highway speeds.

For more information about the different account options and which one is right for you, please visit thetollroads.com. An ExpressAccount can only be used on The Toll Roads (State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261) and the toll is, on average, 20 percent higher than the toll paid by a FasTrak customer.

NEW CUSTOMERS ENJOY ONE FREE WEEK ON THE TOLL ROADS

Haven’t experienced a nonstop, stress-free commute in Orange County in a while? Now’s the perfect time to give The Toll Roads a try for an entire week — for free.

“We want every motorist in Orange County to experience what 250,000 weekday drivers already know — there’s no stop and go on The Toll Roads when you have FasTrak® or an ExpressAccount™,” said Lisa Telles, The Toll Roads’ chief communications officer.

In anticipation of The Toll Roads removing cash toll collection on May 14 at 12:01 a.m., TCA is offering new FasTrak and ExpressAccount customers a free week of nonstop driving as soon as they establish an account at thetollroads.com (PROMO CODE: FREETOLL). The offer ends May 11.

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In January, The Toll Roads introduced more ways to pay tolls to replace cash toll collection. Along with the hugely-popular FasTrak payment method, the three new ExpressAccount types make the drive on The Toll Roads fast and convenient — and most importantly — nonstop. With FasTrak and ExpressAccount, all tolls are collected electronically while motorists travel at highway speeds.

For more information about the different account options and which one is right for you, please visit thetollroads.com. An ExpressAccount can only be used on The Toll Roads (State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261) and the toll is, on average, 20 percent higher than the toll paid by a FasTrak customer.

CASH TOLL COLLECTION ENDS MAY 14 AT 12:01 A.M.

May 13 is the last day to pay with cash on The Toll Roads (State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261). Cash toll collection will cease on the roadways on Wednesday, May 14, at 12:01 a.m.

Visit TheTollRoads.com to see our new clock counting down the days until cash toll collection is removed.

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“This is an exciting time for our Toll Road customers,” said Lisa Bartlett, chairwoman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency. “We’re saying good-bye to cash, but we’re welcoming fast, more convenient ways for customers to pay their tolls.”

“We’re seeing the end of an era, but The Toll Roads are definitely riding the wave of change. Paying cash for most things today is quickly becoming obsolete,” said Rush Hill, chairman of the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency. “With our new nonstop system, gone will be the need to stop at toll plazas and fumble around for exact change.”

In January, The Toll Roads introduced four new ways to pay tolls to replace cash toll collection. Along with the hugely-popular FasTrak® payment method, the three new ExpressAccount™ types and the new One-Time-Toll option make every trip on The Toll Roads fast and convenient.

Click here for more information about the different account options and which one is right for you. An ExpressAccount can only be used on The Toll Roads (SRs 73, 133, 241 and 261) and the toll is, on average, 20 percent higher than the toll paid by a FasTrak customer.

 

Toll Booths Removed From 73 Toll Road

This week, two iconic tolls booths were removed from the 73 Toll Road’s Catalina View Mainline Toll Plaza in preparation for the end of cash toll collection on The Toll Roads (State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261).

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Construction crews used a 40-ton crane with a 94-foot reach to dismantle and remove one toll booth from the southbound 73 Toll Road on Wednesday morning and one toll booth from the northbound 73 Toll Road on Thursday morning. Combined, the toll booths (which measure nearly 19 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 11 feet long) have processed more than 10 million cash transactions since they were opened in 1996.

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With the removal of a single toll booth in each direction, two current cash payment lanes will be combined into one wider lane that will be used by trucks when cash toll collection ends on The Toll Roads in May.

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For more information on the removal of cash toll collection from The Toll Roads, click here.

GOT QUESTIONS? THE TOLL ROADS HAVE ANSWERS

video-driveAs The Toll Roads prepare to remove cash toll collection from the roadway in May, new and long-time customers also are preparing for the change.

Below are the most commonly-asked questions from customers via The Toll Roads’ social media (Facebook and Twitter), website and customer call center.

 

Q.        I’ve signed up for an ExpressAccount, now what do I do?  What lane do I use?

A.         Once you’ve signed up for an ExpressAccount, you may immediately use it on The Toll Roads, driving in the lanes marked “FasTrak” and avoiding the need to stop at toll plazas.

With the new, transponder-free ExpressAccounts, images of a vehicle’s license plate taken on The Toll Roads are linked to an account and the appropriate toll is collected. ExpressAccount customers may choose one of three payment options: prepaid, charge or invoice accounts.

Remember, ExpressAccount only works on The Toll Roads in Orange County (SRs 73, 133, 241 and 261). To travel on other tolled bridges, lanes and roads in California —  including the 91 Express Lanes —  you must have a FasTrak account.

 

Q.        Do I have to switch from FasTrak to one of the new ExpressAccounts?

A.         No. FasTrak customers don’t need to make any changes with the introduction of the new ExpressAccounts. FasTrak is still the preferred way to pay tolls electronically because tolls, on average, are 20 percent lower and FasTrak may be used on all tolled bridges, lanes and roads in California, including the 91 Express Lanes and the LA Metro ExpressLanes. ExpressAccounts use license plate tolling technology and are designed for customers who only use The Toll Roads and use them infrequently.

 

Q.        I have a FasTrak account. With license plate tolling, can I drive without my transponder?

A.         If you choose to remain a FasTrak customer, you must keep your transponder mounted to your vehicle’s windshield.  This ensures that you are charged the reduced FasTrak toll.

If you choose to switch to an ExpressAccount, which uses images of your license plates to collect tolls and may only be used on the 73, 133, 241 and 261, then you must return your transponder to The Toll Roads and transfer from FasTrak to an ExpressAccount. Please call the customer service center at (949) 727-4800 or visit our walk-in centers in Irvine or San Clemente to process this transaction.

 

Q.        What are the lights I see now flashing at the toll plaza when I drive through? 

A.         Proven state-of-the-art tolling equipment is being installed at every tolling location in preparation for the removal of cash toll collection in May. The equipment supports FasTrak and the three new ExpressAccount types.

Drivers will notice that the lights on overhead gantries have already changed.  Because the ExpressAccount payments use license plate numbers – instead of FasTrak transponders – to collect tolls, each vehicle’s front and back license plates must now be illuminated so that a photo can be taken.

Formerly, only black and white photos were taken of license plates using infrared lighting to identify vehicles that did not pay the toll.  Now, color images with a greater level of detail are required. These photos ensure that the correct license plate is linked to the corresponding ExpressAccount.  The lights are the same type used on police cars, ambulances and fire trucks around the country as they share the roadway with other drivers.  At The Toll Roads’ tolling locations, the light produces a safe, momentary 200 microsecond flash.

 

Q.        I signed up for an ExpressAccount with the “charge” option. When and how will I see toll charges on my credit card?

A.         With the new ExpressAccount options, customers may choose three ways to pay:

  • Charge – At the end of each day, customers’ tolls are processed to the credit card on file for each trip on The Toll Roads. You may see a transaction that evening or soon thereafter, depending on your bank.
  • Prepaid – Customers open an account with a prepaid balance and tolls are deducted from the amount whenever they use The Toll Roads.
  • Invoice – Customers are sent an invoice at the close of the month for tolls incurred that month; no need to use a credit card or link a bank account to your account. This account type includes an invoice fee.     

 

Q.        When is the last day The Toll Roads will be accepting cash on the roads?

A.         Cash toll collection will end in May 2014.TCA is currently working on a final schedule for completing the installation of the new technology and posting new signage on the roads.  An exact date in May for the final day of cash collection will be announced as soon as a date is finalized.

 

Q.        How will tourists and out-of-town guests use The Toll Roads without cash toll collection?

A.         The Toll Roads have also introduced One-Time-Toll, a payment option designed for infrequent toll road drivers and visitors. They may use The Toll Roads at their convenience and pay their tolls within 48 hours after their trip at TheTollRoads.com or via our free app—all without the need to establish an ExpressAccount or a FasTrak account. The app is available for download by accessing the Apple App Store or Google Play Store from a device and, then, typing in “FasTrak” or “The Toll Roads” in the search function.


THE TOLL ROADS APP REACHES 112,000 DOWNLOADS

App in phoneThe Toll Roads’ popular app has reached more than 112,000 downloads, allowing customers to open new accounts and manage existing accounts with ease and convenience using their mobile device.

In May, the entire Toll Roads network (State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261) will end cash toll collection, so customers who drive on the roads will never have to stop and pay their tolls. All tolls will be paid electronically through five different options: 1) a FasTrak® account 2) one of three new ExpressAccount™ types or 3) the One-Time-Toll™ option, which does not require the driver to have an account and is designed for infrequent users and visitors.

 “With the removal of cash, The Toll Roads’ app is a convenient way for customers to manage their accounts and pay tolls from wherever they are,” said Lisa Telles, chief communications officer at The Toll Roads.

Originally released in May 2012 (version 2.0 was released in February), the app is available for download by accessing the Apple App Store or Google Play Store from a device and, then, typing in “FasTrak” or “The Toll Roads” in the search function. The app allows users to sign up for FasTrak or an ExpressAccount or pay a toll using the One-Time-Toll option within 48 hours after their trip on The Toll Roads.

Customers with a FasTrak or ExpressAccount may use the account management features of the app, including:

  • View account balances
  • Make payments
  • Edit account information
  • Add or remove vehicles, including rental and loaner vehicles
  • Request additional FasTrak transponders
  • Review recent activity.

For the month of February, customers used the app for the following:

  • 828 new accounts (FasTrak or ExpressAccount) were opened
  • 4,259 vehicle updates were made
  • 4,332 payments were made
  • 2,359 payment methods (i.e., updating credit cards on file) were updated
  • 350 people used the One-Time-Toll feature.

For more information about the different account options, please visit thetollroads.com. An ExpressAccount can only be used on The Toll Roads (SRs 73, 133, 241 and 261) and the toll is, on average, 20 percent higher than the toll paid by a FasTrak customer.

FasTrak Drivers: Keep On Keeping On

FasTrak Video ScreenshotIn anticipation of the removal of cash toll collection from The Toll Roads in May, last month we introduced four new ways to pay – three ExpressAccount™ types and a One-Time-Toll™ option. 

What do these changes mean for FasTrak® Drivers?  Nothing.  What do FasTrak accountholders need to do now that there are ExpressAccounts?  Nothing.

  • Keep your FasTrak transponder affixed to your vehicle’s windshield.
  • Keep driving in the FasTrak lanes.
  • Keep paying the lowest tolls (on average 20 percent less than ExpressAccount and One-Time-Toll tolls).
  • Keep replenishing your prepaid FasTrak account using credit card, cash or check.
  • Keep using your FasTrak transponder to pay tolls electronically on ALL tolled bridges, lanes and roads in California (including the 91 Express Lanes).
  • Keep easily managing your FasTrak account online or with The Toll Roads’ free app.

For years roughly 80 percent of our drivers have paid tolls with FasTrak; last month 83 percent used FasTrak.  As we move toward removing cash payment on the roadways, less and less drivers are using cash to pay.  Last month less than 13 percent paid with cash; six months ago nearly 16 percent used cash.

Also last month, we introduced the three new ExpressAccount types and people immediately started signing up for the account type that best fits their needs.  FasTrak drivers now share their lanes with ExpressAccount drivers.  Lower tolls are deducted from a FasTrak account via a vehicle’s transponder and higher tolls are deducted from an ExpessAccount via an image of the vehicle’s license plate.   

Do you have a question about FasTrak, ExpressAccounts, One-Time-Toll or The Toll Roads?  If so, leave it below as a comment.

NEW LIGHTS INSTALLED AT TOLLING LOCATIONS

ENP_4583As The Toll Roads work toward the May removal of cash toll collection on State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261, proven state-of-the-art tolling equipment is being installed at every tolling location on the 51 miles of roadway.  The equipment supports FasTrak and the three new ExpressAccount payment types introduced in January.

So far, this equipment has been installed at the Irvine Ranch (SR 261), Tomato Springs (SR 241), Orange Grove (SR 133) and Catalina View (SR 73) Mainline Toll Plazas.  Drivers will notice that the lights on the overhead gantries at the tolling points have changed.  Because the ExpressAccount types use license plate numbers – instead of FasTrak transponders – to collect tolls, each vehicle’s front and back license plate must now be illuminated so that a photo can be taken of each.

Formerly, only black and white photos were taken of license plates using infrared lighting to identify vehicles that did not pay the toll.  Now, color images with a greater level of detail are required.   These photos ensure that the correct license plate is linked to the corresponding ExpressAccount.  Changes to California’s standard license plate also made it necessary to begin taking color photos. 

ENP_4750The lights are the same type used on police cars, ambulances and fire trucks around the country as they share the roadway with other drivers.   At The Toll Roads’ tolling locations, the light produces a safe, momentary 200 microsecond flash.  

Over the last seven years, these lights have been installed in more than 500 toll lanes nationwide to support license plate tolling.  Again, we understand that it is not uncommon for motorists to notice the lights when they are first installed, but experience shows that within a couple of weeks of installation drivers grow accustomed to them.

THE TOLL ROADS APP UPDATE FEATURES MORE WAYS TO PAY TOLLS

App in phoneWe’ve released version 2.0 of The Toll Roads’ award-winning app to make paying tolls more convenient. The version’s new functions will make driving The Toll Roads easier after cash toll collection is removed from the roads in May 2014.

The app’s latest update allows customers to sign up for and manage one of the three new ExpressAccount™ types and/or use the new One-Time-Toll™ payment option from their device.  The app continues to allow users to sign up for and manage a FasTrak account.

The app can be downloaded from the Apple App or Google Play Stores by typing “FasTrak” or “The Toll Roads” in the search function.

“The Toll Roads continually seek ways to make our customers’ experience fast, reliable and convenient,” said Neil Peterson, CEO of the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), which operates The Toll Roads. “This latest app upgrade is another innovative way to improve our customer service.”

Customers with a FasTrak or ExpressAccount may use the app’s account management features to:

  • View account balances
  • Make payments
  • Edit account information
  • Add or remove vehicles, including rental and loaner vehicles
  • Request additional FasTrak transponders
  • Review recent activity

TCA was the first toll road operator in the nation to offer an app for toll account management. Since its original release in May 2012, nearly 100,000 customers have downloaded a version of The Toll Roads app.

To learn more about the app, click here.

To learn more about the five ways to pay tolls incurred on The Toll Roads, click here.

WHO WANTS $30 IN FREE TOLLS?

11936738115_2dc5056bd8Drivers on the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads in Orange County can get $30 in free tolls if they open a new FasTrak® or ExpressAccount™ on or before March 31.  FasTrak and ExpressAccounts are the fast and convenient ways to pay tolls electronically on The Toll Roads while traveling at highway speeds.

To receive the $30 in free tolls, use promo code FLYER30 when establishing a new account via thetollroads.com or The Toll Roads app, which is available in the Apple App and Google Play Stores.

“We want new customers to know that it pays to be first when you sign up for an ExpressAccount or FasTrak,” said Lisa Telles, The Toll Roads’ chief communications officer. “We’ll be removing cash toll collection soon and $30 in free tolls is a great way to see firsthand how fast and convenient it is to drive The Toll Roads.”

The Toll Roads introduced three new ExpressAccount types last month to give cash-paying customers more choices for how to pay tolls without stopping at toll plazas.  TCA will remove all cash toll collection from The Toll Roads in May. Customers can now pay using a FasTrak, an ExpressAccount or the new One-Time-Toll option that is available at thetollroads.com.

To learn more about the five ways to pay tolls on The Toll Roads, click here.