Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-07-25 10:06:58 –
John Kilpatrick Turnpike will phase out cash tolls starting Sunday. This is a move that state traffic authorities want to improve traffic flow and driver safety.
Tim Guts, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, said: “Safety is a motivational factor.”
With a cashless toll collection system called Plate Pay by the Turnpike authorities, drivers do not have to stop at a tollhouse to throw coins into a machine or give money to a tollhouse worker. Instead, the camera captures a photo of the license plate and an invoice is mailed to the camera.
Cashless toll collection does not affect the state’s PikePass system, officials said. For more than 2 million vehicles, PikePass, an electronic device that tracks movement through the tollgate, is located inside the vehicle’s windshield.
“Pike Pass is still the preferred way to pay your tolls,” Gatz said at a press conference on Monday.
The cashless toll collection system eliminates the need for drivers to stop at tollhouses, which can lead to traffic jams and collisions, Guts said. Over the last six years, more than 500 accidents have occurred at tollhouses in Oklahoma.
“If you’re dealing with a cash-based environment, the factor of safety at those tollhouses is of particular concern,” Guts said. “Paramount is a safety aspect to reduce the chances of these accidents.”
The switch to cashless toll collection on July 25 will only apply to John Kill Patrick Turnpike. Officials said the cashless system will be deployed in other Oklahoma Turnpike until 2025. According to the Turnpike authorities’ website, the state has more than 600 miles of Turnpike.
According to Guts, the confusion caused by the change to cashless toll collection is not expected. The lane leading to the tollhouse will be closed.
“It’s very easy. Don’t stop,” Guts said.
High prices for some drivers
Drivers who do not use PikePass will pay 75% more than their current cash rate under the new cashless system. Jack Damril, communications director for Turnpike authorities, said rate hikes were needed to support the new billing system, including back office capabilities.
“Pike Pass is cheap,” said Damril. “Therefore, we recommend that drivers open a PikePass account.”
When the driver receives the invoice by mail, he can pay online or by mail. Authorities are considering using a web-based payment system that allows drivers to pay their invoices online before they receive them by mail, Guts said.
“It’s not just about converting to a license plate-based system,” Guts said. “We will try to give you an opportunity in the not too distant future … to avoid that handling extra charge.”
Institutions that support tollhouse workers
Switching to a cashless, tollhouse-less system across the state can be a major change for dozens of workers staffing state tollhouses.
According to Guts, Turnpike authorities are beginning to transform permanent tollhouse jobs into temporary ones due to exhaustion. The agency has more than 100 full-time tollhouse workers, some of whom are still working by the time cashless toll collection is fully implemented across the state in 2025, Guts said.
According to Damril, Kilpatrick Turnpike has had no tollhouse workers since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but other Turnpike still have tollhouses.
The agency may help these workers find new jobs within the Turnpike authorities and offer incentive packages to some people trained for other jobs, Guts said.
“We are looking for every opportunity to ensure that they have the opportunity to continue employment with the Turnpike authorities, just in a different position,” Guts said. “People at tollhouses are often the faces of turnpike authorities.”
The Turnpike authorities were one of the first institutions in the country to allow drivers to use electronic passes when they launched the PikePass system a few years ago. However, the agency has not reached the 2016 federal deadline to synchronize its system with other Turnpike systems across the country, Oklahoman previously reported.
Oklahoma’s PikePasses are turnpike in Kansas and Texas that work under agreement with these states, but some eastern states use the EZPass system. Oklahoma officials say they are working to enable the state’s PikePass system to work with other systems in the future.
Kilpatrick Turnpike in OKC goes cashless Sunday Source link Kilpatrick Turnpike in OKC goes cashless Sunday