Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 2856
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by galawdawg »

DW and I have travel planned to New England later this year, we'll be driving from Georgia taking a couple days to drive each way to visit friends and family. Our trip will take us to or through Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We are likely to be on I-95 in MD, Delaware, NJ, NY, CT, RI and Mass., on I-81 in PA, on I-78 in PA and NJ, and on I-287 in NJ and NY. (There aren't any tolls on the routes we would take from Georgia to Maryland).

It's been so long since I last drove to New England that I paid the tolls by tossing coins into the basket at the toll booths!

I am assuming that most, if not all, of these states have gone to cashless tolls paid by transponder (or by mail after the fact with a hefty "fee" tacked on). While I can set our navigation software to avoid tolls and I enjoy driving on scenic rural highways (four-lane 55mph travel), I don't want to be routed onto two-lane roads or through populated areas with stoplights and such. I also suspect even if I chose to "avoid tolls", that there may be parts of the trip that would find us on a toll road or toll bridge, intentionally or otherwise. Plus, I don't want to stretch a six hour drive into an eight hour drive just to avoid paying a couple bucks in tolls!

So I am looking for a website or method to see what tolls I'm likely to see and the most cost-effective way to pay those (such as with a regional transponder that works on all of them) online before we begin our travel. Any thoughts, tips or suggestions is greatly appreciated.

Thanks! :happy
prd1982
Posts: 615
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:43 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by prd1982 »

Get an EZ-Pass from Massachusetts. Http://ezdrivema.com
Minimal cost and no monthly fee.

Note: when you drive thru CT, there are no toll roads!
User avatar
F150HD
Posts: 3867
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by F150HD »

E-ZPass takes time for you to setup and get in the system, so, def do it far ahead of time. This is my experience (unless this has changed)
retiringwhen
Posts: 2286
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:09 am
Location: New Jersey, USA

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by retiringwhen »

You should seriously consider getting an EZPass transponder even for just one trip, then cancel it. Some states have a $1/mo. fee (maybe all now). They are issued by state agencies, but fully interoperable across just about the entire eastern USA. You don't have to live in a state to request one, but varying fees and discounts encourage people to go with one or another.

This may be of help: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-ZPass

Also, there are no tolls on I-78 or I-81 or I-287, so you are looking at mostly the I-95 corridor and the various NYC bridges and tunnels.
HootingSloth
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:38 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by HootingSloth »

prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 7:49 am Get an EZ-Pass from Massachusetts. Http://ezdrivema.com
Minimal cost and no monthly fee.

Note: when you drive thru CT, there are no toll roads!
+1. This is what we have done.

In addition to the tolls, I think taking I-95/NJ Turnpike through MD/DE/NJ is very unpleasant. I have occassionally taken 30/222/78 through Pennsylvania instead, which is much more pleasant but takes significantly longer.
Global Market Portfolio + modest tilt towards volatility (80/20->60/40 as approach FI) + modest tilt away from exchange rate risk (80% global+20% U.S. stocks; currency-hedge bonds) + tax optimization
AnEngineer
Posts: 732
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:05 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by AnEngineer »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 7:43 am I am assuming that most, if not all, of these states have gone to cashless tolls paid by transponder (or by mail after the fact with a hefty "fee" tacked on).
I don't know of any tolls in the US that require a transponder (even to avoid a fee).

That said, EZPass saves time (dedicated lanes/roads) and often money (discounts on tolls particularly in the state of issue and sometimes others) and may only require a deposit that you'll get back if you return it after the trip.
Goal33
Posts: 1755
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by Goal33 »

Following. Just curious, would a fastrak from the SF Bay Area also work in this case too?
prd1982
Posts: 615
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:43 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by prd1982 »

AnEngineer wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:11 am I don't know of any tolls in the US that require a transponder (even to avoid a fee).
Well, MD, DE and NY require one at many toll points. Otherwise they snap your license plate, and mail you a bill with a small service charge. I don’t consider the surcharge hefty, but there is a charge. Some states (eg MA) allow you to create an account and register your license plate number. They will charge your account as-if you had a transponder. But having a transponder is the way to go if traveling multiple states.
coalcracker
Posts: 756
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:25 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by coalcracker »

AnEngineer wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:11 am
galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 7:43 am I am assuming that most, if not all, of these states have gone to cashless tolls paid by transponder (or by mail after the fact with a hefty "fee" tacked on).
I don't know of any tolls in the US that require a transponder (even to avoid a fee).

That said, EZPass saves time (dedicated lanes/roads) and often money (discounts on tolls particularly in the state of issue and sometimes others) and may only require a deposit that you'll get back if you return it after the trip.
In Pennsylvania, EZpass is around half the price of paying via license plate photo and mailed bill. I recently purchased a new car and didn’t register it, got a bill for $14. When I linked it to my EZ pass is was $6.95.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 2856
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by galawdawg »

Thanks all. It sounds like EZPass is the way to go. Are there any suggestions of which state would be the best to purchase from? Ideally there would be no cost for the transponder and no monthly fee or other add-ons. I'd also prefer one where rather than adding a fixed dollar amount to the transponder when the balance falls below a certain minimum that it simply bills the linked credit card for the actual balance due. If that isn't possible, then one that has the lowest "refill" increments would be great.

I suppose that I could always cancel the transponder and receive any prepaid amounts as a refund, I may prefer to just keep the account open for future retirement travel.

Also, a transponder that can easily be removed and reinstalled would be great so that if Georgia becomes interoperable with EZPass in the future or I am traveling in a state that accepts both EZPass and Peachpass (appears to be NC and Florida currently), I don't get charged by both!
Babytaylor
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2021 8:27 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by Babytaylor »

Ha, throwing coins in the basket went out with high button shoes & buggy whips! It is now dollars you toss to the state.
I gave up doing cash, reluctantly, a few years ago & now use EZ Pass here in NJ. Best move I made. There could be a dozen lanes open but only one is cash. This causes a backup at that lane. Also, people are swerving across traffic to get to that lane.
One would assume that the cash lane would always be same from toll to toll, sometimes they are on the right, sometimes in the middle. I have seen them on the left as well.
My advice is get the EZ Pass, you will save time & it will be a safer drive.
BTW: the bridges can run $12- $20 to cross! :moneybag
Have a good trip!
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 2856
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by galawdawg »

A little off-topic, but do any of you RI or SE Mass Bogleheads know where we might find a clambake perhaps in mid to late September? One of my favorite memories growing up was enjoying clambakes while visiting family and friends on the Cape. I've looked on Google but everything I'm finding are caterers who do clambakes off-site or a few places that cater large gatherings on-site.
rooms222
Posts: 643
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:12 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by rooms222 »

The EZ-Pass transponders come with 2 velcro-like plastic strips that attached to your windshield that can be removed with a little effort from the windshield. You can request extras from the EZ-pass service center your transponder is assigned to. I keep an extra pair, in case you want to put the pass on another vehicle, such a rental car. I leave the strips on my windshield, and put them and then take them off if used on another car.

Last I checked MA was one of the best for people not getting it in their own state. viewtopic.php?t=318066

NY charges a fee to non-residents, but not residents. If you are in NY, buying the pre-paid one will not usually have the fee, but you have to buy it in person. This is advantageous in getting discounts on Metro NYC tolls as they no longer give the discounts to all EZ-pass holders. The transit museum in Brooklyn is an easy place to get it.

I think all of the EZ-passes use the deposit/replenishment system to pay.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 2856
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by galawdawg »

Babytaylor wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:31 am Ha, throwing coins in the basket went out with high button shoes & buggy whips! It is now dollars you toss to the state.
I gave up doing cash, reluctantly, a few years ago & now use EZ Pass here in NJ. Best move I made. There could be a dozen lanes open but only one is cash. This causes a backup at that lane. Also, people are swerving across traffic to get to that lane.
One would assume that the cash lane would always be same from toll to toll, sometimes they are on the right, sometimes in the middle. I have seen them on the left as well.
My advice is get the EZ Pass, you will save time & it will be a safer drive.
BTW: the bridges can run $12- $20 to cross! :moneybag
Have a good trip!
Thanks. At least I won't have to roll down the window near Elizabeth, NJ to toss some coins and my cookies! Egads, that smell! I still remember it forty years later...
Chip
Posts: 3442
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:57 am

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by Chip »

I agree with others to buy an EZ Pass before you go. When the alternative is a cash payment the convenience is well worth it.

I have the Illinois version of EZ Pass, the I-Pass. I just bought another transponder via the mail. It was $10 to buy; no monthly fee. It might have taken 10 days to arrive from the order date.

I believe the order of doing this for an I-Pass customer would be to set up an I-Pass account, fund it via a credit card, associate your vehicle license plate(s) with the account, then order the transponder.

I am not familiar with the New England toll system but the PA Turnpike gives all EZ Pass users a 50% discount over toll-by-plate. Just one trip on the turnpike makes it worth it. I don't believe you'll be on the PA TP on your trip, but there is a bridge toll on I-78 between NJ and PA. That bridge accepts cash; I don't know if there is an EZ Pass discount.

Here's a decent map of the EZ Pass system in the Midwest/Northeast: https://www.ezpassnj.com/en/about/facilities.shtml

One thing of note: On a recent trip I had somehow misplaced my original transponder; I guess from switching it between cars. :oops: I went through the PA Turnpike toll-by-plate lanes (NOT the EZ Pass lanes). To my surprise the PA TP automatically figured out that my plate was associated with an EZ Pass account and deducted the discounted rate from my account with no action on my part.
AnEngineer
Posts: 732
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:05 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by AnEngineer »

prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:19 am
AnEngineer wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:11 am I don't know of any tolls in the US that require a transponder (even to avoid a fee).
Well, MD, DE and NY require one at many toll points. Otherwise they snap your license plate, and mail you a bill with a small service charge. I don’t consider the surcharge hefty, but there is a charge. Some states (eg MA) allow you to create an account and register your license plate number. They will charge your account as-if you had a transponder. But having a transponder is the way to go if traveling multiple states.
coalcracker wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:19 am In Pennsylvania, EZpass is around half the price of paying via license plate photo and mailed bill. I recently purchased a new car and didn’t register it, got a bill for $14. When I linked it to my EZ pass is was $6.95.
Good to know. $14 vs. $6.95 is quite the penalty.
Last edited by AnEngineer on Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 12806
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Babytaylor wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:31 am Ha, throwing coins in the basket went out with high button shoes & buggy whips! It is now dollars you toss to the state.
I gave up doing cash, reluctantly, a few years ago & now use EZ Pass here in NJ. Best move I made. There could be a dozen lanes open but only one is cash. This causes a backup at that lane. Also, people are swerving across traffic to get to that lane.
One would assume that the cash lane would always be same from toll to toll, sometimes they are on the right, sometimes in the middle. I have seen them on the left as well.
Ha, cash lanes seem to have also evaporated (thank God; it felt so stupid to burn 25 cents of gas in order to stand in line to pay 50 cents in tolls).

In fact, in the little driving I’ve done in MA since moving here (COVID etc), it seems that even automated toll lanes are a thing of the past. They seem to now have sensors and cameras mounted high over the road and track usage that way. You don’t even slow down.

We recently drove a Uhaul from MA to VA and forgot to install our EZpass. So far, some tolls have hit our CC, but no outrageous surcharges.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 13865
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I have accounts with both NY and MA. Neither charges any fee beyond the toll. NY gives you a discount on their tolls in many spots and are also some of the highest tolls, so you want that. MA charges slightly more for out of state EZPass, and double for pay-by-plate.

While MA has improved dramatically from the garbage system they used to have, NY still shines in my opinion. There IS a trick to getting one. Perhaps my method is saving me the charge that others report. On the E-ZPassNY page, they ask your state. You say New York. This is completely disconnected from the address you're going to put in. If you say any other state, it's going to bounce you to that state's page. Then you do the credit card for auto rebalance and put in your actual address. Tell them how many transponders you need (I have 4 on one account) and they mail them to you.

Now, here's how I would travel. I've driven from MA to florida, MA to DC, MA to Richmond, MA to Williamsburg and have done the "easy" 95 route, paying a ton of tolls and getting stuck in bumper to bumper traffic in NYC, all of Jersey and all around the DC beltway. For you, divert in S. Carolina to end up on Rt 81. You can take 81 to 84 near Scanton and take it to the end in Sturbridge, MA, then go from there. Zero tolls. My alternate (watch Google Maps on the way) is to keep going 81 up to 88 in Binghamton to 90 west of Albany. Going east, this becomes the MA turnpike. Besides the turnpike and a little of the NY thruway on 90, there are no tolls and far less traffic. I recently drove on a Sunday afternoon (non holiday) back on 84 and the turnpike was completely backed up from Sturbridge to Worcester. This is very common. Also, the 495 interchange with 90 is bumper to bumper all weekend long (I live near an overpass and see traffic stopped every weekend).

There are certainly other ways to go. You'll find that this looks like you're going out of your way, but with traffic, it will shorten your trip. If you feel like doing backroads, there are lots of very good options. Just look at where the Hudson is and bridges and where lakes are once in CT and MA.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
mkc
Posts: 723
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:59 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by mkc »

Goal33 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:14 am Following. Just curious, would a fastrak from the SF Bay Area also work in this case too?
No. Currently, there is no interoperability for toll transponders. Each network is operated independently.

For OP, in general, there is a discount for using EZ-Pass vs. pay-by-mail. Many states offer a higher discount for tolls in-state for their transponder (We have a Maine-based one for the tow car that gets 50% off most Maine tolls since we spend a lot of summers in Maine. We have a NYS-based one for the motorhome since we use the Thruway MHM plan that gets us passenger car axle rates for the RV on the NY Thruway)
prd1982
Posts: 615
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:43 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by prd1982 »

Chip wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:40 am I am not familiar with the New England toll system but the PA Turnpike gives all EZ Pass users a 50% discount over toll-by-plate.
Kudos to the PA marketing department for convincing people they get a discount for using EZ-Pass, vs. a surcharge for using toll-by-plate :happy
Katietsu
Posts: 5102
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by Katietsu »

You can get an EZPass holder for just a few bucks from Amazon or the like that attaches by suction cup to your window. This would be my choice since you will not need the transponder on an ongoing basis.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 2856
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by galawdawg »

rooms222 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:39 am Last I checked MA was one of the best for people not getting it in their own state. viewtopic.php?t=318066
Thanks for the info. The chart in that thread and linked here: http://www.jd4x4.net/EZPass/, had a great overall comparison of the various state EZPass options, deposits, costs and replenishment details. Very helpful!

Thanks to all for the help, just signed up for the EZ Pass MA (and thanks to prd1982 for the initial link) which should arrive in about two weeks according to their website, well in advance of our travel plans.

In the meantime, I may look at bypassing 95 between DC and CT (no offense NJ Turnpike fans) and running up I-270 to US15 to I-81/I-78 to I-278, I-83 to US30/222 to I-78 to I-287 (or I-83 to I-81/I-78 to I-278). Any feedback on those three potential routes in MD/PA?

Thanks!
eddot98
Posts: 433
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:47 am
Location: The Berkshires

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by eddot98 »

rooms222 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:39 am
NY charges a fee to non-residents, but not residents. If you are in NY, buying the pre-paid one will not usually have the fee, but you have to buy it in person. This is advantageous in getting discounts on Metro NYC tolls as they no longer give the discounts to all EZ-pass holders. The transit museum in Brooklyn is an easy place to get it.

I think all of the EZ-passes use the deposit/replenishment system to pay.
If NY charges a fee to non-residents, I’m going to owe them a lot of fees if they catch up with me. Maybe they charge fees to new users. I live in western Massachusetts and commuted to Albany from 1984 to 2010. I have had EZ-Pass transponders from NY since the NY Thruway started accepting it in the Albany area, probably around the late 1980’s. Once they allowed out of state residents to buy an Annual Permit, I had one of them on one of our cars. When I left my full time job in Albany, I gave up the Annual Permit, but kept the NY account. I didn’t pay a deposit and I have never paid a fee. Now I do pay a little more when we use the Mass Turnpike, but not enough to go through the hassle of changing our account from NY to Massachusetts. Our replenishment amount is $15. I think that the amount is based on usage.
We went from far western Massachusetts to Portland, Maine a few weeks ago and using our EZ-Pass meant that we never even stopped for a toll as Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine all had high speed toll collection in place.
THY4373
Posts: 1482
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:17 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by THY4373 »

I just did a college tour with my son up through NJ/NYC to Mass to western NY. I got a EZPass for this trip and having done it I would not recommend doing it without one. There are basically no cash tolls anymore. NY was the craziest where on the Thruway they were asking you to call in if you didn't have EZpass (I assume after you have stopped driving?). And the tolls will add up. The total for my trip it was close to $55 but we drove a lot.
pizzy
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:59 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by pizzy »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:20 am
rooms222 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:39 am Last I checked MA was one of the best for people not getting it in their own state. viewtopic.php?t=318066
Thanks for the info. The chart in that thread and linked here: http://www.jd4x4.net/EZPass/, had a great overall comparison of the various state EZPass options, deposits, costs and replenishment details. Very helpful!

Thanks to all for the help, just signed up for the EZ Pass MA (and thanks to prd1982 for the initial link) which should arrive in about two weeks according to their website, well in advance of our travel plans.

In the meantime, I may look at bypassing 95 between DC and CT (no offense NJ Turnpike fans) and running up I-270 to US15 to I-81/I-78 to I-278, I-83 to US30/222 to I-78 to I-287 (or I-83 to I-81/I-78 to I-278). Any feedback on those three potential routes in MD/PA?

Thanks!
I would use the Waze app from point to point unless you are taking alternate routes for a specific purpose.
devopscoder
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:35 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by devopscoder »

I'm a Mass resident but my EZ Pass is NY. When EZ Pass was first introduced, there was a $25 charger per transponder in MA but none in NY if you used a credit card for the account.

I do like how MA & NH have toll less ticketing for EZ Pass users. Nice to sail through at 60+ MPH.

I did drive out to Chicago recently and was able to use EZ Pass in IL & IN. Indiana stinks. They have gates and their sensors are bad or not working. Many people got stuck (including me) for minutes because the system wasn't working correctly.
prd1982
Posts: 615
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:43 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by prd1982 »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:20 am
In the meantime, I may look at bypassing 95 between DC and CT (no offense NJ Turnpike fans) and running up I-270 to US15 to I-81/I-78 to I-278, I-83 to US30/222 to I-78 to I-287 (or I-83 to I-81/I-78 to I-278). Any feedback on those three potential routes in MD/PA?

Thanks!
Well, I would take I-95 to I-495 East, around to I-95. Then go north I-95 toward Baltimore. Next take I-83 to Harrisburg, then to I-78 to I-287 (your 2nd choice). If you want to get off the highway a little, get off in York PA, and go toward Allentown. Distance is shorter, but will take a little longer.
prd1982
Posts: 615
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:43 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by prd1982 »

prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:47 am
galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:20 am
In the meantime, I may look at bypassing 95 between DC and CT (no offense NJ Turnpike fans) and running up I-270 to US15 to I-81/I-78 to I-278, I-83 to US30/222 to I-78 to I-287 (or I-83 to I-81/I-78 to I-278). Any feedback on those three potential routes in MD/PA?

Thanks!
Well, I would take I-95 to I-495 West, around to I-95. Then go north I-95 toward Baltimore. Next take I-83 to Harrisburg, then to I-78 to I-287 (your 2nd choice). If you want to get off the highway a little, get off in York PA, and go toward Allentown. Distance is shorter, but will take a little longer.
Oops -- Had the wrong direction for I-495. At least I think west around 495 is still faster. It has been a number of years since I did this part of the trip.
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 2856
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by galawdawg »

prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:51 am
prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:47 am
galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:20 am
In the meantime, I may look at bypassing 95 between DC and CT (no offense NJ Turnpike fans) and running up I-270 to US15 to I-81/I-78 to I-278, I-83 to US30/222 to I-78 to I-287 (or I-83 to I-81/I-78 to I-278). Any feedback on those three potential routes in MD/PA?

Thanks!
Well, I would take I-95 to I-495 West, around to I-95. Then go north I-95 toward Baltimore. Next take I-83 to Harrisburg, then to I-78 to I-287 (your 2nd choice). If you want to get off the highway a little, get off in York PA, and go toward Allentown. Distance is shorter, but will take a little longer.
Oops -- Had the wrong direction for I-495. At least I think west around 495 is still faster. It has been a number of years since I did this part of the trip.
No worries. I lived for years in the DC area and will be stopping off between DC and Baltimore to visit family and friends so getting to I-83 is a familiar route...
Chip
Posts: 3442
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:57 am

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by Chip »

prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:14 am
Chip wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:40 am I am not familiar with the New England toll system but the PA Turnpike gives all EZ Pass users a 50% discount over toll-by-plate.
Kudos to the PA marketing department for convincing people they get a discount for using EZ-Pass, vs. a surcharge for using toll-by-plate :happy
You nailed it. I regret using the word discount.
User avatar
gwe67
Posts: 1073
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:52 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by gwe67 »

If you are taking a rental car on this trip (assuming you can find one), you don't want to go without a pass. The rental car companies like to cram large toll fees onto your bill.
VTI 48%, VXUS 12%, BND 40%
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 2856
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by galawdawg »

gwe67 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:06 am If you are taking a rental car on this trip (assuming you can find one), you don't want to go without a pass. The rental car companies like to cram large toll fees onto your bill.
Nope, we'll be enjoying the drive in our trusty, reliable and comfortable Lexus LS430. We considered flying but a rental car out of BOS for a week would absolutely bust the budget! Insane...

But the driving gives us a chance to make some stops along the way to visit folks, some of whom we haven't seen in years...
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 2856
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by galawdawg »

Katietsu wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:15 am You can get an EZPass holder for just a few bucks from Amazon or the like that attaches by suction cup to your window. This would be my choice since you will not need the transponder on an ongoing basis.
Thanks for the tip! Do you (or anyone else) know what the current Mass transponder looks like? It appears there are several transponder models and different holders fit different models...
rich126
Posts: 2930
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by rich126 »

Thanks for the topic. I'm heading back east and would have simply gotten one from the state I'd be living in but it sounds like the cheaper option is to go via another state.
HootingSloth
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:38 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by HootingSloth »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:55 am
prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:51 am
prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:47 am
galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:20 am
In the meantime, I may look at bypassing 95 between DC and CT (no offense NJ Turnpike fans) and running up I-270 to US15 to I-81/I-78 to I-278, I-83 to US30/222 to I-78 to I-287 (or I-83 to I-81/I-78 to I-278). Any feedback on those three potential routes in MD/PA?

Thanks!
Well, I would take I-95 to I-495 West, around to I-95. Then go north I-95 toward Baltimore. Next take I-83 to Harrisburg, then to I-78 to I-287 (your 2nd choice). If you want to get off the highway a little, get off in York PA, and go toward Allentown. Distance is shorter, but will take a little longer.
Oops -- Had the wrong direction for I-495. At least I think west around 495 is still faster. It has been a number of years since I did this part of the trip.
No worries. I lived for years in the DC area and will be stopping off between DC and Baltimore to visit family and friends so getting to I-83 is a familiar route...
My vote is for I-83 to US30/222 to I-78.
Global Market Portfolio + modest tilt towards volatility (80/20->60/40 as approach FI) + modest tilt away from exchange rate risk (80% global+20% U.S. stocks; currency-hedge bonds) + tax optimization
not logged in
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:53 am

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by not logged in »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:26 am
Also, a transponder that can easily be removed and reinstalled would be great so that if Georgia becomes interoperable with EZPass in the future or I am traveling in a state that accepts both EZPass and Peachpass (appears to be NC and Florida currently), I don't get charged by both!
You should consider getting an NC Quick Pass. In addition to NC it works with E-ZPass, Peach Pass and Sun Pass (FL).

www.ncquickpass.com

I’ve had an E-ZPass for years for my car, but a year ago got an NC Quick Pass for my RV because it has the widest coverage of any state program. Online signup is easy, and I received my transponder within two weeks. There are several transponder options—you want the $7.40 one that works with E-ZPass.
prd1982
Posts: 615
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:43 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by prd1982 »

rich126 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:18 am Thanks for the topic. I'm heading back east and would have simply gotten one from the state I'd be living in but it sounds like the cheaper option is to go via another state.
Buying from the state your living in usually be the cheapest. Most of the states have a discount for residents using the in-state tolls. This thread is primarily about non-resident travel.
rooms222
Posts: 643
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:12 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by rooms222 »

eddot98 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:30 am
rooms222 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:39 am
NY charges a fee to non-residents, but not residents. If you are in NY, buying the pre-paid one will not usually have the fee, but you have to buy it in person. This is advantageous in getting discounts on Metro NYC tolls as they no longer give the discounts to all EZ-pass holders. The transit museum in Brooklyn is an easy place to get it.

I think all of the EZ-passes use the deposit/replenishment system to pay.
If NY charges a fee to non-residents, I’m going to owe them a lot of fees if they catch up with me. Maybe they charge fees to new users. I live in western Massachusetts and commuted to Albany from 1984 to 2010. I have had EZ-Pass transponders from NY since the NY Thruway started accepting it in the Albany area, probably around the late 1980’s. Once they allowed out of state residents to buy an Annual Permit, I had one of them on one of our cars. When I left my full time job in Albany, I gave up the Annual Permit, but kept the NY account. I didn’t pay a deposit and I have never paid a fee. Now I do pay a little more when we use the Mass Turnpike, but not enough to go through the hassle of changing our account from NY to Massachusetts. Our replenishment amount is $15. I think that the amount is based on usage.
We went from far western Massachusetts to Portland, Maine a few weeks ago and using our EZ-Pass meant that we never even stopped for a toll as Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine all had high speed toll collection in place.
If I remember correctly, if you sign up online, and are not a NY resident at that time, they send you a Port Authority one that has a $1 monthly fee. There was legislation passed that does not allow the Port Authority to charge the $1 fee to New Yorkers. https://www.dslreports.com/forum/r32365 ... ansactions

Also, in answer to OP's question about pay per trip, NY has a pay per toll, where you don't need to give a credit card (although they would like a backup one) or have them keep a deposit, but all charges are debited from a checking account once per day. Don't like that idea, but it is out there. https://www.e-zpassny.com/en/faq/paypertrip.shtml
AnEngineer
Posts: 732
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:05 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by AnEngineer »

prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:44 am
rich126 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:18 am Thanks for the topic. I'm heading back east and would have simply gotten one from the state I'd be living in but it sounds like the cheaper option is to go via another state.
Buying from the state your living in usually be the cheapest. Most of the states have a discount for residents using the in-state tolls. This thread is primarily about non-resident travel.
My understanding is that the discount is not based on residency, but where you get your EZPass transponder. If you live in state A, but face more tolls in state B, you're may be better off getting the EZPass from state B.
mkc
Posts: 723
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:59 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by mkc »

AnEngineer wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 11:15 am
prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:44 am
rich126 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:18 am Thanks for the topic. I'm heading back east and would have simply gotten one from the state I'd be living in but it sounds like the cheaper option is to go via another state.
Buying from the state your living in usually be the cheapest. Most of the states have a discount for residents using the in-state tolls. This thread is primarily about non-resident travel.
My understanding is that the discount is not based on residency, but where you get your EZPass transponder. If you live in state A, but face more tolls in state B, you're may be better off getting the EZPass from state B.
That's how we chose our EZ-passes, and we don't live in an EZ-pass state. We chose the state in which we would encounter the greatest toll charges for that vehicle.
2cents2
Posts: 533
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:31 am

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by 2cents2 »

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) sells a unipass on Amazon. (It costs 18.50 IIRC)
You have to set it up on an account and activate it (and add $$ for future tolls transactions as the $18.50 only covers the cost of the transponder).

It is good for "Travel nonstop on toll roads in 18 states: FL, DE, GA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, WV; Works anywhere E-PASS or E-ZPass is accepted"
rooms222
Posts: 643
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:12 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by rooms222 »

mkc wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 12:09 pm
AnEngineer wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 11:15 am
prd1982 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:44 am
rich126 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:18 am Thanks for the topic. I'm heading back east and would have simply gotten one from the state I'd be living in but it sounds like the cheaper option is to go via another state.
Buying from the state your living in usually be the cheapest. Most of the states have a discount for residents using the in-state tolls. This thread is primarily about non-resident travel.
My understanding is that the discount is not based on residency, but where you get your EZPass transponder. If you live in state A, but face more tolls in state B, you're may be better off getting the EZPass from state B.
That's how we chose our EZ-passes, and we don't live in an EZ-pass state. We chose the state in which we would encounter the greatest toll charges for that vehicle.
There was a big change around 2012, when NY ended the discount to out-of-state EZ passes, on their very large tolls. Previous to the this, most discounts for local EZ passes in other places were small and not worth noticing. This article discusses this, and points out why an EZ Pass from another state than your own may be worth having if you drive somewhere a lot.

https://www.njspotlight.com/2017/08/17- ... york-city/

That is why I mentioned the physical pick-up of a pre-paid NY EZ-pass may be worth it to those who travel to the NYC area regularly. Last I checked, you could not get an NY EZ-pass online with no monthly fee, and access to the NY discounts as an out-of-state resident. There are also many places in upstate NY where the prepaid can also be purchased.
kelangov
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:12 am

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by kelangov »

Chip wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:40 am I agree with others to buy an EZ Pass before you go. When the alternative is a cash payment the convenience is well worth it.

I have the Illinois version of EZ Pass, the I-Pass. I just bought another transponder via the mail. It was $10 to buy; no monthly fee. It might have taken 10 days to arrive from the order date.

I believe the order of doing this for an I-Pass customer would be to set up an I-Pass account, fund it via a credit card, associate your vehicle license plate(s) with the account, then order the transponder.

I am not familiar with the New England toll system but the PA Turnpike gives all EZ Pass users a 50% discount over toll-by-plate. Just one trip on the turnpike makes it worth it. I don't believe you'll be on the PA TP on your trip, but there is a bridge toll on I-78 between NJ and PA. That bridge accepts cash; I don't know if there is an EZ Pass discount.

Here's a decent map of the EZ Pass system in the Midwest/Northeast: https://www.ezpassnj.com/en/about/facilities.shtml

One thing of note: On a recent trip I had somehow misplaced my original transponder; I guess from switching it between cars. :oops: I went through the PA Turnpike toll-by-plate lanes (NOT the EZ Pass lanes). To my surprise the PA TP automatically figured out that my plate was associated with an EZ Pass account and deducted the discounted rate from my account with no action on my part.
+1
margered
Posts: 123
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 5:56 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by margered »

About 4 years ago, I ordered an E-Z pass from Massachusetts for or annual vacation we take there. It was free and came promptly. I loaded it with $20, I think. We enter our rental car plate online before we leave the parking lot. We just leave the transponder on the dash of our rental car. One tip: delete the rental car plate as soon as you return the car. We were charged for the next renter’s toll even though the pass was not in the car. I haven’t revisited the E-Z pass site to see if it was refunded after my complaint.
ponzu
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:04 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by ponzu »

If you already have a SunPass account, you can get a SunPass Pro transponder which works at E-ZPass checkpoints.
falconsfan
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:16 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by falconsfan »

GO DOGS!

Check out the NC Quick Pass. It's valid for all EZ pass states in addition to GA and Florida. Only way to get this coverage far as I know. I bought last year and used on a trip to NJ, no issues.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 13865
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

margered wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 5:13 pm About 4 years ago, I ordered an E-Z pass from Massachusetts for or annual vacation we take there. It was free and came promptly. I loaded it with $20, I think. We enter our rental car plate online before we leave the parking lot. We just leave the transponder on the dash of our rental car. One tip: delete the rental car plate as soon as you return the car. We were charged for the next renter’s toll even though the pass was not in the car. I haven’t revisited the E-Z pass site to see if it was refunded after my complaint.
This is where NY shines. The call center on Staten Island is wonderful. MA's system before the overhead tolls started was notorious for double charging or charging when it couldn't read the transponder (which happened really often). I'd call up Staten Island and go through where the tolls read correctly, like Alston, then 128 didn't read me and I got a plate read violation, then read ok again getting off in Framingham. The Staten Island CSR knew what was going on and got the refund issued. Come to think of it, at 128 going west, the far right reader seemed to almost always not work. You'd get a red light while driving away.

I haven't had problems with any EZpass readers in the last few years. Drove to Florida in my mom's car with a NY EZpass that worked in Florida if you know the double secret method to drive through the cash lane. It reads EZ pass and you just continue.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
User avatar
Topic Author
galawdawg
Posts: 2856
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by galawdawg »

Just a follow-up to note how quickly MassDOT and USPS handled shipping the EZPass transponder. I signed up for the service and ordered the transponder on Wed morning and the transponder was delivered by USPS on Monday!

Thanks again to all for their input.
User avatar
Tubes
Posts: 351
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:33 am

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by Tubes »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 9:20 am
rooms222 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 8:39 am Last I checked MA was one of the best for people not getting it in their own state. viewtopic.php?t=318066
Thanks for the info. The chart in that thread and linked here: http://www.jd4x4.net/EZPass/, had a great overall comparison of the various state EZPass options, deposits, costs and replenishment details. Very helpful!

Thanks to all for the help, just signed up for the EZ Pass MA (and thanks to prd1982 for the initial link) which should arrive in about two weeks according to their website, well in advance of our travel plans.

In the meantime, I may look at bypassing 95 between DC and CT (no offense NJ Turnpike fans) and running up I-270 to US15 to I-81/I-78 to I-278, I-83 to US30/222 to I-78 to I-287 (or I-83 to I-81/I-78 to I-278). Any feedback on those three potential routes in MD/PA?

Thanks!
Just FYI. The link you have above is very old. It doesn't even include NC. So I'm not sure of the rest of the data.

I've had no problems with interoperability of the NC Quick Pass Transponder. It works fine on every other system we've gone through east of the Mississippi. For in-state residents, there is a requirement to use it once every 24 months.

The NC system has stickers and transponders. The sticker has a weak RFID that only works in NC, GA and FL. I suspect that GA only has that system and is why GA Peach Pass doesn't work beyond those 3 states. The transponder is stronger (small box instead of sticker) and works on all EZ-Pass systems. It is too bad the other states can't read the weak signal because it is very convenient to just have the small sticker. You can't move it car to car, but it is so unobtrusive and free to install on all cars. Reading the sticker requires better equipment from the agencies. The old EZ-Pass states have older equipment that can't read this signal - yet.

I don't necessarily recommend the NC system because I think the transponder cost is a bit more than other states. I have friends who bought and manage their EZ-Pass from out of state systems even though they mostly drive in NC. The reason they do this is in the previous posts' discussion, primarily that the transponder is free, where NC charges for the transponder (but not the sticker).
criticalmass
Posts: 2013
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Toll roads while traveling northeast US: planning and paying

Post by criticalmass »

retiringwhen wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 7:56 am
Also, there are no tolls on I-78 or I-81 or I-287, so you are looking at mostly the I-95 corridor and the various NYC bridges and tunnels.
There is a toll on I-78 at the Delaware River bridge bar Phillipsburg, NJ, Easton, PA. The I-78 toll is for westbound traffic only.

There is a toll on I-278 at the Hudson River (Cuomo Beidge, née Tappan Zee). The I-278 toll on passenger vehicles is for southbound traffic only.
Post Reply