AAA: Cashless tolls arrive, as cars remain preferred method of travel amid pandemic


PENFIELD, N.Y. (WROC) — Cashless tolling began Friday night at 58 tolling locations across the New York State Thruway. Preparation began last year with the installation of steel gantries and equipment.

You may be wondering: what does this mean for you?

April Engram of AAA in Penfield says if you don’t already have an EZ pass, you’re going to want to get one. This pass allows you to load money on it, place it in your car by the rear-view mirror, and it instantly pay for tolls as you drive. The device is $25, and comes ready to go with that same $25 for the tolls.

Engram says you don’t necessarily need one, though. Those without the pass will just have their license plate scanned. From there, the New York State Thruway Authority will send you a paper bill in the mail, which you must pay in 30 days. If you don’t pay right away after 60 days there is a late fee, and after 90 days there is a violation fee.

Engram says the EZ pass is currently in very high demand. On Friday, the AAA location in Penfield sold out. “The demand for the EZ pass has gone up, because it does make your life easier not having to worry about receiving a paper bill,” she said.

Engram said without the pass you could run into potential logistical issues.

“If for instance you move and your address has changed, and they send the paper bill to your old address, the ticking clock for 30 days begins as soon as they mail you that paper bill. So there will be a delay in getting it to you,” she said. You can update your residential information with the DMV.

As we head into the holiday season, Engram says AAA doesn’t anticipate more cars on the roads in their travel forecast. But, cars remain to be the preferred method during the pandemic, according to Engram. That’s why she says it’s important to have cashless tolls for the convenience and safety.

“Cashless tolls have already proven to increase safety by stabilizing traffic flow. They’re convenient to keep you going on the road, so you don’t have to come to a slow stall at a toll booth,” said Engram.

The paper bill license scan method is here to stay for now as just another option for drivers, according to Engram.

You can find frequently asked questions on the tolling system here.

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