HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) reminds drivers that toll increases announced earlier this year are set to take effect Sunday, Jan. 3 just after midnight.
In July, the PTC approved a 6 percent toll increase for all E-ZPass rates systemwide and for the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE rates that had been established before the March 2020 conversion to All-Electronic Tolling (AET) at these six locations:
- Beaver Valley Expressway (I-376)
- Delaware River Bridge (New Jersey border)
- Gateway Toll Plaza (Ohio border)
- Greensburg Bypass (PA Turnpike 66)
- Keyser Avenue and Clarks Summit Tolls (I-476/Northeastern Extension)
- Findlay Connector (PA Turnpike 576/Southern Beltway)
Like previous annual toll-rate increases, this measure was primarily driven by the PA Turnpike’s annual transit payments of $450 million to PennDOT as mandated by Acts 44 of 2007 and 89 of 2013. Since 2007, the Commission has transferred $7 billion in funding to PennDOT.
Additional Increase for TOLL BY PLATE Rates
The Commission in July also approved new TOLL BY PLATE rates at all other toll facilities that were converted to AET in March. These new rates, which also take effect Jan. 3, include the 6% increase along with an additional 45% increase over the 2020 cash rate for TOLL BY PLATE motorists. The rates — which reflect the higher cost of collecting this way — will not be applied at the six toll facilities listed above.
“The new TOLL BY PLATE rates offset the higher costs the Commission incurs to process the toll, mail the invoices and collect payment — a pricing approach used by tolling agencies across the nation to cover the cost of administering AET systems,” PTC CEO Mark Compton explained. “This balanced approach allows us to maintain a lower rate for those choosing a payment method that is less costly to administer, while those who choose a pricier payment option absorb those costs.”
PTC Toll App Discount
The PTC also announced an upgrade to its tolling smartphone app. In addition to E-ZPass account management, non-E-ZPass customers will be able to use the smartphone app to create an autopay account and receive 15% savings on their monthly TOLL BY PLATE invoices. The enhanced app — called “PA Toll Pay” — will be available for Turnpike travelers Jan. 3, 2021.
“Given the significantly higher rates now associated with the TOLL BY PLATE option, we wanted to offer an alternative that would provide a measure of relief for travelers,” Compton explained.
With the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE option, high-speed cameras capture license-plate images as vehicles pass by. The registered owner receives an invoice for trips made through the tolling point. Invoices can be paid online, by phone, or by mail. Upon receipt of a TOLL BY PLATE invoice, recipients also have an option to open an E-ZPass account and pay the lowest rate.
E-ZPass Offers Lowest Rate
“E-ZPass drivers will continue to receive the lowest toll rates across the PA Turnpike,” Compton said, “with some customers saving nearly 60% in 2021.”
Starting Jan. 3, the most common toll for a passenger vehicle will increase from $1.50 to $1.60 for E-ZPass customers and from $2.50 to $3.90 for those choosing TOLL BY PLATE. The most common toll for a Class-5 tractor-trailer will increase from $12.20 to $13 for E-ZPass and from $17.30 to $26.60 for TOLL BY PLATE customers.
Compton strongly encouraged PA Turnpike travelers to switch to E-ZPass, since it is the most convenient, economical way to travel and is accepted in all neighboring states and across the eastern United States.
“Currently, 86 percent of our customers have chosen E-ZPass, with more switching every day. Now that hundreds of grocery stores in the Commonwealth offer E-ZPass, chances are you pass by at least one of them,” Compton said. “Because of our low administration and enrollment fees, and the ability to set up an automatically replenished or cash-funded E-ZPass account, there’s no reason not to get it.”
Most of PA’s top grocery chains offer E-ZPass GoPaks, including Giant Eagle, Acme, Giant Food Stores, and Wegmans. In addition, travelers can pick up an E-ZPass GoPak — which includes a transponder that must be registered before it is used — at all 17 Turnpike service plazas and Pennsylvania AAA offices.
To find a location nearby, visit https://www.paturnpike.com/toll/sales.aspx.