Luddites Pay Double To Use IL Toll Roads

from the and-so-it-goes... dept

theodp writes “Effective Jan. 1 at midnight, drivers on Illinois toll roads who refuse to or are unable to shell out $50 for an I-PASS are charged twice as much to use the tollway system as those who use the transponders to pay their tolls. Critics say the charge-$1-to-process-$1 scheme amounts to extortion.” Northern California is pushing something similar to get more people to use what they call FastPass here, offering discounts to users. To be honest, it was a bit surprising that such systems weren’t more popular out here when I moved from New York, where the EZPass system is ridiculously popular — to the point that the majority of tollbooths on the major bridges and tunnels seem to be EZPass only. It also makes some sense that tolls manned by humans would cost extra — as it is more costly for the government to pay for workers. It’s not that different than when some banks started charging people to speak to a human teller rather than an ATM. Of course, there are some questions about privacy when it comes to these RFID-enabled tollbooth systems, but that’s not the issue that’s being discussed here. The one area where the Illinois rule is troublesome is that it requires $50 down to get one of these devices, which may be a bit steep for many on limited incomes. Also, it’s still quite annoying that the various electronic tollbooth systems don’t all work together. Some of them can work across multiple states, but there are at least four different systems that don’t appear to work together.

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Comments on “Luddites Pay Double To Use IL Toll Roads”

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Chris Hanson (user link) says:

What about visitors?

It’s also sure to suck for anyone visiting the Chicago area. When I lived in the Chicago suburbs, of course I had an I-Pass. But I didn’t take it with me when I moved to California; when I go back, it sucks that I’m going to have to pay more on the toll roads.

It’s not because of the cost, but because of the sheer hassle involved. Many of the smaller exits only take coins, and only take bizarre amounts (15 cents or 35 cents, for example). This means that instead I’ll have to come up with 30 cents or 70 cents – gee, guess I’ll round up, unless I don’t even HAVE any change on me because I just got off an AIRPLANE and didn’t feel like carrying any through SECURITY.

So very lame.

Anonymous Coward says:

au tollroads

in au, new (privatised) tollroads will be ezpass style only. yuo have to pay a deposit of $40? & also
can buy ‘credit’ on it in $40 amounts. so who gets to keep the interest on the $40 ? certyainly not the consumer….

sydney airport now also has a $2 toll for taxis since its been privatised. why ? because they can …

Mark says:

Thieving pricks

Funny thing, when they put those toll booths in, they were only suppose to stay up until the roads were paid for. Seems like somebody not only to the extra revenue, but saw a way to extract even more from the average citizen. Oh well, maybe with most people using ipass the toll booth bottleneck will be reduced a little.

Jeff R says:

No Subject Given

It’s all about generating more money.

$50 to get a unit. $10 of that is ‘deposit’ that you will in theory get back when you turn in the unit after you’re done with it. $40 in prepaid tolls that is charged an additional $40 when you reach a balance of $10. So that’s an average of $10 deposit + $30 balance per ipass user in the government coffers collecting interest…

And if you don’t buy into their scheme, you pay double as a passenger car driver (and you pay triple regardless if you’re a commercial driver).

I’m also waiting for the tickets based on times from toll plaza to toll plaza. It’s just a matter of time.

John Riley says:

No Subject Given

The higher tolls will finance a 10-year, $5.3 billion project to widen and reconstruct most of the 274-mile tollway system and to help pay for the Interstate 355 extension connecting Interstate 55 and Interstate 80 as of 2007.
Tolls have certainly gone beyond the original purpose of just paying off the road and now are used to pay for future expansions. This isn’t the worst way of doing it I guess, it beats higher taxes. In the case of someplace like Chicago it makes more sense since there is all kinds of traffic passing through from out of state – its not really fair to put the full financial burden of building those roads on the local residents (not to mention the rising commute times which can be absolutely brutal).
I am an IL resident and use the toll roads every day. I have had an IPass for a long time, so for me this change works out wonderfully. I agree that the $50 buy in is pretty steep though and is probably one of the big reasons that IPass was not more popular prior to this. It is certainly going to be rough on visitors though, and for exits like the one near my house that is unattended and now requires 70 cents if you don’t have an IPass – maybe their next step will be to accept dollar bills as payment 🙂
Another issue that has not been mentioned here is that the Trucks had their tolls as much as quadruple for rush hour times (it is still normal for them during off hours). In the Chicago/Gary area there is a huge amount of truck traffic and this will certainly help ease up the rush hours if a decent amount of trucks are pursuaded to move to off hours to drive.
As was mentioned though, it sure would be nice to have a national standard for these electronic passes so that they could be used anywhere.

Pendot sucks says:


The damn boxes don’t work properly either.
We have 10 of them in our delivery vans.
@ least once a month I get a bill for a supposed run SppedPass.
After giving the transponder # I am then charged the correct amount.
In each case, its my responsibility to do their bill keeping which was to be simplified.
And for the privilege of using these faulty devices I get to pay a separate deposit on each box, am responsible for sending them in for ” software ” updates, & I get little to no benefit from them except not having to continually giver our drivers petty cash for such tolls.

M.Zettl says:

Re: No Subject Given

The only problem regarding the Truck issue, is most Trucks HAVE TO BE AT DELIVERY POINT at a required Delivery APPOINTMENT. Plus all the other time restrictions we now have to follow, required by the D.O.T. Which all trucks will have to follow – and have to pay the additional amount out of their own pocket, because our boss won’t reimburse us.

Ticked and annoyed says:

Re: popularity?

My info in the hands of someone else, and as stated in above post, with the whole speeding tickets, it’s just a matter of time before they screw ya. They’re trying me currently, saying I owe $102 for 5 toll violations dating back to 8-17-04, today is 1-19-05. I would have liked to known about these sooner, it would have been easier to clear my name, now it will be a hassle.

David M says:

Its Extortion

The whole Illinois tollway system is an extortion scheme. Pay $50 and get a box that is linked with a debit/credit card, OR ELSE pay double, this is outrageous. ..But Dave..”It costs more to have humans at the booths”. Then the rational thing to do is charge LESS for the IPass users (like 35 cents). Not DOUBLE the cost for the cash booth! Have all of our asses been given a shot of anesthetic so we no longer feel when we are getting rapped in the ass. And guess what if you go through an IPass lane w/o a box, that will be a $20 fee please. Doesn’t matter that you in no way could you traverse 4 lanes because of construction on the highway to get to the only 2 cash only lanes. Sorry $20 bucks or else it will go up to $70, then you “might” get your license suspended. So we have a ridiculous system, with outrageous fines, and threats…Sound familiar? Its extortion on a level that Al Capone would be proud of.

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