There has been major construction on the Suncoast Parkway for the last couple of years to improve the drive. One of the ‘improvements’ that I just found out about was the new toll areas. These are electronic toll collection that no longer have booths to pay with cash.
If you are heading north out of the airport you will run through two of these new ‘electronic toll booths’ without any warning or alternative route.
We were in a rental car and had the change ready to pay but as we approached we saw the electronic tolls above and no place to pay. What happens is the electronic tolls have cameras which will take a picture of your license plate and then mail you a bill for the price of the toll plus a small administrative fee of a couple dollars.
This is fine for the residents of Florida but it you are driving a rental car you will get dinged the toll, administrative charge and then a charge from the rental company. These charges can be upwards of 15.00 per toll that you go through.
My suggestion is to ask at the rental company about the cost of the transponders.
If you are going to be visiting Florida yearly and take the toll highways I would purchase a transponder. There are two options for the transponders, one is the mini which sticks to the windshield and costs 4.99. the second is a larger unit for 19.99 that is made to go between vehicles and is perfect for rentals.
Once you purchase the device you can setup an account on the sunpass.com web site. This allows you to activate your transponder(s) and put a minimum of 10.00 in the account.
You are also able to setup auto top up when the funds get low.
Reminder – when dropping off your rental car make sure to remove the transponder from the windshield! We made it all the way to our gate before remembering it was still in the rental car.
There was a mad rush back to the car and then back to the gate to grab our plane ride home.