ORLANDO, Fla. - Central Florida's tolling agency is losing money with some drivers. Now, some drivers might have to pay more to use toll roads.
The Central Florida Expressway Authority is considering a proposal to increase the rate for drivers who prefer to have a bill sent to them in the mail through the agency's "Pay-by-Plate" program.
With the proposed Pay-by-Plate rate, drivers would pay double the discounted EPass rate. Currently, Pay-by-Plate drivers pay the cash rate plus a .20 cent transaction fee per toll.
"I think you should just get your transponder," said driver Robert Perez. "I don't think it's fair for the customer to pay double the amount when you have an option you can use."
Pay-by-Plate invoices account for roughly 10% of the agency's toll collection, but cost more to collect, compared to those who pay cash or transponder transactions, such as EPass and SunPass.
Current transaction fees are not enough cover the costs of sending out invoices. The proposal is part of an effort to recoup Pay-by-Plate costs and get more users to go back to cash or sign up for an EPass.
Ideally, the agency would like more people to get a transponder since collection costs are 10 times cheaper compared to Pay-by-Plate. Cash collections costs are also half of Pay-by-Plate collection costs.
The number of invoices is also increasing year by year. More all-electronic and cash-less systems are being built and the agency is trying to cut costs and loss since roughly 20% of the invoices go unpaid. Over a two-year period, that equals roughly $1.5M.
"The company has to do what it has to do," said Christian Machado, who gets Pay-by-Plate invoices in the mail. "It'll definitely make people get an EPass. I'm probably looking into right now."
The agency would need to create new signs for its 118-mile system. In some cases, the change would be easy with a simple overlay on the existing boards. But there is a possibility that the agency will have to replace signs so the new Pay-by-Plate rate can fit alongside the existing rates. The agency hasn't determined if any signs need to be replaced yet because a study would need to be done if the board approves the proposal.
If the board approves the new Pay-by-Plate rate at their board meeting Sept. 12, it would take effect July 2020.