Florida Toll Roads
In Florida, toll roads are called turnpikes and they have more in Florida than any other state, over 650 miles in total. Tolls can be anything from 25 cents to several dollars between toll plazas. As well as toll roads you will also find toll bridges and causeways. The main road from Sanford and Orlando Airport into Orlando, the 417, is a toll road.
On Florida’s toll roads you either have a transponder fitted to your vehicle or you stop and pay for your toll in cash at each toll plaza. With a transponder, you can drive through special express lanes at speeds of up to 25 mph without having to stop. As toll booths are upgraded, this speed limit will be lifted.
Note that some toll plazas are manned whereas others, particularly those on minor off-ramps are un-manned and you must have the right change to exit.
At present there are three main electronic systems in operation, SunPass, E-Pass and LeeWay where you buy a pass and fit a transponder into your vehicle. These transponders then allow you to drive straight through the express lanes without the need to stop.
Electronic Toll Collection
Florida’s toll roads are gradually converting to all-electronic collection at the toll plazas, known as “open road tolling” which will improve traffic flow and reduce costs. The first turnpikes to undergo this are in Miami-Dade County. Other projects started in 2012 and will continue until all 650 miles of toll roads are covered.
Over time all the cash collecting toll booths will be removed and instead cameras will scan vehicles for transponders or read licence plates. The registered owner of the vehicle will then be billed for the toll plus a $2.50 monthly administrative charge. Florida’s rental companies are registering their vehicles with toll plate companies to handle the administration of these toll fees.
If you are driving a rental car during this transition period and anticipate using Florida’s turnpike toll roads then you need to check how the rental company deals with toll fees, in particular whether you need to opt-in to using the system.
Be aware that you could face a toll violation fine of $100 or more if you drive through an express lane where there are still cash lanes and your vehicles is not registered with one of the toll plate companies. It is imperative that you check with your rental company how toll fees are handled before driving on a toll road.
Rental Companies and Tolls
Avis and Budget rental cars are registered with a system called eToll and you do not need to pre-register, you are automatically opted in. You can drive straight through Sun-Pass Only and ePass Only express lanes and you are then billed for the posted toll fees plus a daily service fee of $2.95 (maximum of $14.75 per rental period) to your credit card. If you choose to drive through the cash lanes, then you just pay your toll at the time and do not incur any eToll fees.
Remember that all of the car rental companies charge the cost of the actual tolls on top of the service fees unless stated otherwise.
Hertz operates a similar system called PlatePass with a $4.95 a day service fee and maximum of $24.75 per month. Advantage use the same system and charge $2.95 and $14.75 respectively.
Avis and Budget use eToll and their fees are $2.95 per day with a maximum of $14.75 per month.
National, Alamo and Enterprise are registered with TollPass with a $2.95 a day service fee with a maximum of $14.75 per rental period.
Dollar, Thrifty and Sunshine are registered with Rent-A-Toll and charge a daily $7.99 or weekly $41.99 fee which includes all toll fees. Note though that you have to explicitly opt-in or decline the toll collection option at the time of rental. If you decline and then drive through an express lane you face a $15 administration fee for each infraction plus the possibility of toll violation fee.