4

I'm planning to rent a car in Florida for one week, and drive around the state (Orlando, Everglades, Keys, Palm Beach, back to Orlando). Rental companies I've looked at, including Avis and Budget, have cars equipped with electronic toll transponders so you can get through the fast lanes in exchange for a daily fee (they charge a fee in addition to the tolls themselves: around $4 / day, with a $16 / month cap).

What I'm wondering is: in the areas I'll be driving around, can I opt out of this scheme and pay cash at the tolls, or will I find myself on roads that require electronic toll (cashless tolls)? And more generally speaking, does it makes more sense to opt in, or opt out, of these schemes?

  • Does the $4 per day fee (with $16 per month cap) cover the tolls themselves, or is it on top of the tolls? You may want to double check; in my experience rental car companies usually have the latter. – Nate Eldredge Feb 1 '15 at 3:21
  • I rented cars for most of 2011 in FL- typically they were covering the tolls, but you should double check. – Affable Geek Feb 1 '15 at 5:07
  • @NateEldredge I've edited to make it clearer: it's as you say, a rental fee on top of the tolls themselves – F'x Feb 1 '15 at 8:43
4

There are two kinds of toll arrangements that most rental car places in Florida do-

  1. They pay your toll
  2. You rent the transponder

In either case, you probably want a transponder, because:

  1. You get to go through the faster lanes
  2. There are a lot of toll gates in Orlando and on the way to Everglades
  3. In some instances, you are charged more (like 75 cents) if they have to look up your license plate, which they do if you don't have one.

You can go into just about any grocery store (e.g. Publix) and buy a SunPass for $5- but it will permentantly adhere to the windshield and not work once removed.

The rental-car-agency-pays model is usually a good deal. I remember it being like $6/day capped.

In the Orlando area, there are enough tolls to where it almost certainly a good deal- especially if you are capped at $16/month. In addition to paying your tolls for you, you get to use the fast lanes.

The SunPass will get you all around town, and down to Everglades. If I remember correctly, it would be at least $16 round trip to there from Orlando. The number of gates you get to zip through will make you happy too.

3

Yes there are cash lanes, as lots of tourists bring their own cars to Florida without the SunPass. They obviously require you to slow down and pay, rather than fly through at mach90.

Best bet is to look at where you plan to go, which roads require tolls and then do the math. If you will be spending lots of time on the toll roads (central Florida) then the scheme maybe worth it. But if you are cruising rural Florida to see the countryside not simply speeding from Disney to Miami Beach to Key West, then the cash option might be a good choice.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.