A strategic approach to toll management can increase operational efficiencies
while having a positive impact on the bottom line
The rise of all-electronic tolling across the United States, which has accelerated due to COVID-19 concerns with cash payments and toll booth interactions, has resulted in new challenges for commercial fleets, especially if they are heavy toll facility users with a national footprint.
As cash is an increasingly unreliable option for payment, fleets often need to manage multiple accounts across the country to avoid the higher toll rates, administrative fees, and delayed billing associated with toll by plate.
For example, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation converted the Massachusetts Turnpike to AET in 2016, removing toll booths and the option to pay cash. Now, vehicles using the turnpike can only pay via transponders or by waiting for a toll by plate invoice in the mail. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission also recently accelerated its plans to go cashless in response to COVID-19.
Looking forward, the New York State Thruway Authority is in the process of converting all the state’s toll roads to AET, and the Kansas Turnpike Authority will convert to AET over the next five years. With the rise of AET for toll facilities across the country, fleets will have to make business decisions about transponder coverage across nearly every tolling facility. For drivers, cash is no longer a reliable default.
Ready to save time and money in the midst of this changing tolling landscape? Bestpass, the commercial toll management experts, has created a list of the top-five things to consider when determining your approach to toll management.
- Take advantage of volume discounts. Beyond the transponder discount, many tolling authorities will also offer commercial fleets volume discounts based on frequency of travel or volume of toll. For example, Bestpass gives small and mid-size fleets access to the highest possible volume discounts, which they would likely not qualify for on their own, with discounts of up to 20 percent available in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado, among others.
- Be wary of peak hours. Many tolling authorities charge higher rates during peak hours, primarily to reduce traffic congestion during weekday commutes and other busy times. As traffic volumes continue to pick up, it makes good business sense for drivers to use toll roads during non-peak hours, which will allow them to move more quickly along the toll roads and through the tolling facilities while also costing less.
- Watch out for violations. Misreads are inevitable, especially with the trend towards increased all-electronic tolling around the country, and not disputing these misreads can lead to a bill that is much more expensive than it should be. Tracking violations and disputing them is a daunting task, especially when reviewing multiple statements and notices from a variety of tolling authorities. However, by paying attention to possible violations, you can keep costs down and pay only for the tolls that were actually incurred.
- Minimize back-office inefficiencies. When you have accounts with multiple tolling authorities, you can spend hours or even days every month shuffling invoices and submitting payments through multiple interfaces. Wherever possible, consolidate your toll management. By aggregating multiple tolling accounts, you will save time in the back office while also giving you a more meaningful picture of toll usage across your entire fleet.
- Avoid cash. While many authorities are shifting to cashless tolling, those that do still accept cash will often offer a discount for vehicles using a transponder, since cash transactions take more time and require significant overhead for the tolling authority. If you travel frequently on any given toll road, it makes sense to explore transponder options and associated discounts. Using a transponder also allows vehicles to pass more quickly through toll facilities while tracking all fleet toll transactions much more efficiently than using cash.
Bestpass is the comprehensive payment platform provider and leader in toll management solutions for commercial fleets of all shapes and sizes. With more than 8,500 customers and more than 600,000 deployed toll transponders in the United States and Canada, Bestpass ensures data accuracy, consolidates payments, delivers invaluable industry expertise, and saves its users time and money. Founded in 2001 by truckers for truckers, Bestpass is now a trusted partner on the road and in the back office for customers, tolling authorities, and related organizations.
To learn more, visit www.bestpass.com.