Florida has the largest toll road system in the US, with over 750 miles of toll roads spread across the state.
Visiting Orlando often means hiring a car and for many of us that means navigating the confusing experience of how to pay if we end up on a toll road.
Ways To Pay for Tolls
There are a few main ways to pay tolls in the Orlando area:
- Prepay tolls with SunPass or E-Pass
- Pay as you go using a mobile app
Some but not all toll roads in the Central Florida area still accept cash payments, either at a manned toll booth or by throwing coins into a small basket at an unmanned toll booth.
Both manned and unmanned toll booths only accept cash, so you cannot pay with credit or debit cards.
At a manned toll booth you drive up to the toll booth and you can pay the attendant directly with notes or coins to cover the toll. You will get change if you don’t have the exact amount.
At an unmanned toll booth you drive up the the toll booth and throw coins into a small basket to pay the toll. You don’t get any change and you can’t pay with notes.
Prepay tolls with SunPass or E-Pass
You can buy a pre-paid toll pass (called a “transponder”) from two different companies in Florida, either SunPass or E-Pass.
Both companies offer a similar system where you either buy a small box that sits on your dashboard or a small sticker to stick on your windscreen. When you drive through a toll booth the signal from the transponder box/sticker is picked up and the cost of the toll is automatically deducted from your SunPass or E-Pass account.
SunPass and E-Pass are widely accepted across the whole of Florida, and you can use either at locations showing SunPass or E-Pass irrespective of which pass you have.
SunPass charges a small fee for a transponder (the sticker is currently cheapest at $4.99 plus tax). You can buy the initial box/sticker from many retailers in Orlando and throughout Florida, including Publix, CVS and Walgreens or online at https://www.sunpass.com.
The E-Pass sticker is currently free but you can only buy it online at https://epass.cfxway.com or a couple of toll locations.
Once you have bought either you can then load credit onto your account online through their websites.
Pay as you go using a mobile app
If you don’t want to rely on carrying cash or pre-paying for a transponder, possibly the easiest option is to pay as you go using a mobile app called Paytollo. This is the option we use when we visit Florida as we think it’s the most flexible if you’re hiring or renting a car.
You can download the Paytollo app for both iOS and Android on the normal App Store.
Once you’ve got the app you can set up an account and add a default payment credit card. Paytollo will take an initial $5 from your card as a balance to use against future toll payments.
As soon as you’ve got your hire car you then add it to the app so it can be tracked when you’re driving around. In the app you take a photo of the number plate and leave a few other details about you car. You can also add an end date for the car so you can be sure you won’t incur any fees after you’ve returned your hire/rental car.
You’re now set up and ready to go.
Paytollo works automatically in the background as you drive around using the GPS location of your phone. As you pass through a toll booth (you don’t need to stop) Paytollo recognises the location and sends you an alert on the app. You can then pay the appropriate toll when you next stop by looking at the unpaid tolls section of the app and selecting “Paytollo Now”.
If you don’t want to keep GPS/location services switched on then Paytollo can also work in offline mode. As long as you’ve registered your car you will receive payment notifications for toll booths you pass through, although usually these are a few days later. You can then pay in the same way through the app.
Whichever method you use, Paytollo will keep topping up your account in $5 increments if your balance drops too low. Once you’ve finished with your hire period you can deactivate your Paytollo account in the app and any outstanding balance will be returned to you.