Whether you're visiting Florida or are a state resident, one of the biggest advantages to using a pre-paid toll program is convenience. Plus, you get a discount for using SunPass, E-Pass, or LeeWay, amounting to around 25 cents per toll, which can add up, especially if you're a commuter. But one of the best reasons to have a pre-paid pass is to avoid searching around for change (and holding up the line) at unmanned toll booths. Plus, the time savings you gain by not slowing down when cruising through Florida toll road's "easy read" drive-through lanes reduces your overall drive time as well as time spent sitting in traffic.
Pre-Paid Toll Program Benefits
The biggest benefit of using a pre-paid toll program is convenience. With pre-paid transponders, there is no need to keep cash on hand when cruising Florida's highways. It also saves you time, too, as some drive-through readers can scan transponders at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Additionally, most toll programs guarantee the lowest rate available, averaging up to a 25 percent saving overall. Lastly, with easy online account management—where you can add funds or pay your bill—the pre-paid system is a no-brainer. Some companies also offer parking payment programs for select airports, making it a convenient option for frequent flyers.
To start using a prepaid toll program, you must first select your provider. SunPass, E-Pass, and LeeWay are the tree services offered in the state of Florida. After selecting your service, next you need to purchase your transponder (a device mounted to your windshield that records your tolls) either through the company's website or from a store. After that, call your provider to add funds to your account and activate your transponder. You can also manage your account online. And most pre-paid toll providers offer a service for automatic deductions to be made from a credit card, too.
Traveling Out of State
All of Florida's pre-paid toll programs can be used when traveling on all Florida toll roads and bridges, including travel in express lanes. SunPass also works in Georgia and North Carolina with hopes to add other states in the future. E-Pass—originally designed for use on roads in Orange and Seminole Counties—gives you express toll access in 18 states if you purchase the E-Pass Xtra program. And similar to SunPass, LeeWay offers service in both Georgia and North Carolina.
Using Transponders in Rental Cars
Many companies offer portable transponders for use in other vehicles. These transponders can be easily dismounted from your primary vehicle and mounted to a new one. However, most transponders have a signal that's strong enough to be used while sitting on the dashboard, near the windshield, and in clear sight of the toll reader.
If you are traveling in a rental car, make sure to add the vehicle's license plate number and information to your account before use. And don't leave the transponder in plain sight when you park. Tucking it into the glove compartment keeps it out of the site of potential thieves.
Florida Roads that Accept Pre-Paid Programs
Most toll roads in Florida now have booths that accept express pay options from all three of the Florida carriers. These roads include:
- SR 408 (East-West Expressway) travels through the center of Orlando, connecting near the intersection of SR 429 and the Florida Turnpike at the west and ending at Highway 50 (Colonial Drive) on the east. This convenient route gets you through downtown Orlando easily, especially when traveling to Winter Garden and the University of Central Florida (UCF).
- SR 414 (Apopka Expressway) improves access from Maitland Boulevard in Maitland, Florida to SR 429.
- SR 429 (Western Beltway) travels to the north and south just west of Orlando. The 429 offers a great way to avoid Interstate 4 traffic when using the Florida Turnpike or for accessing Disneyworld from the western side of Orlando.
- SR 417 (Central Florida Greenway) creates an eastern loop around the downtown Orlando area. This toll road connects to Interstate 4 just south of SR 536, and then again connects to Interstate 4 north of 46A in Seminole County. Unlike many of the toll roads in Orlando that only travel east and west, the 417 also travels in north and south on the east side of Orlando, giving convenient access to Lake Nona and the University of Central Florida, Seminole County.
- SR 528 (Beachline) is appropriately named since it's the direct shot out of Orlando to Florida's East Coast beaches. This is the closest toll road to the Orlando International Airport, creating a convenient route to International Drive, SeaWorld, Disneyworld, and other attractions and hotels.