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Houston Toll Roads


dewilso
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Call Harris County Toll Road Authority and ask them.  On my 5er, they have it as a secondary license on my truck tag.  Not sure how they handle a motorhome.  

Fort Bend Toll Road Authority is a bit of a stinker and insist that each vehicle have a tag last time I spoke to them.

Ken

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From the website:

What happens if I don't have a tag to pay tolls?
The only way to pay tolls on the Grand Parkway is with a TxTag, EZ TAG, TollTag, METRO HOT Lanes Toll Tag, or K-TAG (Kansas Turnpike Authority). If you do not have a prepaid tag - or do not have enough money in your toll account to cover the cost of your tolls - you will receive a Notice of Toll Violation with a $5.00 fee for each toll charge. Drivers who fail to pay violation notices on time are subject to collection fees and court fines that can add up to $350 per violation.

I guess TX doesn't have pay by license plate on their toll roads without extra fees($$). I thought they did but I guess things changed. Anyone know why TX has so many toll systems? Most states have gone with one, East coast to the Mississippi seems to be mostly EZPASS. A $5 fee per toll charge would add up fast.

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3 hours ago, SWharton said:

I guess TX doesn't have pay by license plate on their toll roads without extra fees($$)

Recently we had an issue with out Harris County EZ Tag account and ended up paying by mail for a couple of tolls from last year.  Despite what is said on the website, the actual charge was only a couple of dollars "handling fee" for ~3-4 small tolls.  There were no penalty fees.  The bill came in the mail ~6 months after we had been through the toll booths. 

There's also a provision on the Harris County website which allows you to search for "missing tolls".  I used it to pay a toll for one of my vehicles which was misregistered on the website and, therefore, didn't get properly billed for a toll.  It may be a possible to search for a toll after you've incurred it and before they've added the extra "handling charge" for pay by mail service.

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I think we will try to avoid toll roads in TX if possible. It is just too confusing for me to handle for the once a year we are in TX and may go on a toll road. We had considered getting a toll pass when we read someplace that any pass can be used on any toll road(don't know if that is really true). When we researched toll passes there  plus was a charge for the toll pass so we stopped there.

The need to logon to a particular system in order to find the charge before it gets penalties(or whatever) is not visitor friendly. We tried to use our license plates on the Sam Houston and it took days(maybe a week) before our charge showed up. That to me is unacceptable in this day and age. FL has a really good system for the few roads that don't take EZPASS, reasonable charges and quick billing.

I heard of someone who was charged $90 to take the toll road around Austin area. That is excessive.

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6 hours ago, SWharton said:

From the website:

What happens if I don't have a tag to pay tolls?
The only way to pay tolls on the Grand Parkway is with a TxTag, EZ TAG, TollTag, METRO HOT Lanes Toll Tag, or K-TAG (Kansas Turnpike Authority). If you do not have a prepaid tag - or do not have enough money in your toll account to cover the cost of your tolls - you will receive a Notice of Toll Violation with a $5.00 fee for each toll charge. Drivers who fail to pay violation notices on time are subject to collection fees and court fines that can add up to $350 per violation.

I guess TX doesn't have pay by license plate on their toll roads without extra fees($$). I thought they did but I guess things changed. Anyone know why TX has so many toll systems? Most states have gone with one, East coast to the Mississippi seems to be mostly EZPASS. A $5 fee per toll charge would add up fast.

When passing through Houston a few weeks ago we got on a toll road that only took electronic payments.  We didnt figure this out until we were already on the toll road, but my wife was able to get online and start an account, add both our motorhome and toad license plate numbers, and add money before we got off the toll road, so, so far we havent received any bills for extra charges.

Edited by pjstough
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Don't you need something on your windshield for the system to work?

Did you close the account once through TX and get a refund for funds still in the account?

This now brings up the question if you don't need anything on the windshield  Would the account be valid on other toll roads or would you need an account for each toll road. If you don't need to set up an account for each system that seems to say they all share a database and a single pass for all roads could be created.

Does anyone know any answers from experience?

 

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24 minutes ago, SWharton said:

Don't you need something on your windshield for the system to work?

If you want to take advantage of the lower tolls and "no handling" charges, you need a transponder on the windshield.  We have them for the toad and the MH.  There are several entities that issue them in TX; they are reciprocal with each other.  We have the Harris County EZ Tag (Houston area).

One thing that we have found is that TX toll booths are not always accurate if you leave a transponder on the toad.  Officially, the story is that the system can tell that the toad follows the main vehicle too closely to be a separate charge, but it doesn't always work.   Going around Houston on the Sam Houston Tollway we have been charged for 3,4, and 5 axles all on the same trip.  Even though the transponders are of the stick-on, non-removable type, I suggest mounting them  so they can be removed and wrapped in aluminum foil if the toad is being towed.  I use Weatherproof 3M Dual Lock fasteners, the same stuff that the EZ Pass folks give you to mount their transponders on your windsield.

Edited by docj
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29 minutes ago, SWharton said:

Don't you need something on your windshield for the system to work?

Did you close the account once through TX and get a refund for funds still in the account?

This now brings up the question if you don't need anything on the windshield  Would the account be valid on other toll roads or would you need an account for each toll road. If you don't need to set up an account for each system that seems to say they all share a database and a single pass for all roads could be created.

Does anyone know any answers from experience?

 

Evidently, the system used our license plates to charge us properly, however, we did get transponders in the mail to be attached to the windshield of both vehicles.

Just glancing over the material we received with the transponders, we dont see a way to get a refund, but since we only have a couple of dollars on the account, we are not worried about a refund.  We were just glad we were able to sign up and pay before we exited the toll road, as I would guess the cost would have higher.

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Paul indicated they created an account and did not have a windshield tag. We could not have a permanent tag anyway. In VA the only legal items on your windshield is the inspection sticker. I think the police turn a blind eye to the eye to the EZPASS(it may be legal now). Curiosity question: if the tag is suppose to be permanent on you windshield how would you move it to another car. We don't have many toll roads where we live in VA and usually use one car. When we need to use the other car we go online change the  plate number on our pass and put it in the other  car. For the MH we have a pass that includes the MH and toad(EZPASS told us this was the preferred way).

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Quote

I guess I'll check websites to see which system has the least amount "deposit" and maybe sign up. I had researched one of them a few years ago and the costs involved seemed excessive to a once a year visit. That was before I read about all these potential fees if you don't. "Deposits" are looking a lot less now in perspective.

 

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Opinions are like noses - everyone has one, but I'll share mine concerning Houston Toll Roads.  Generally speaking, I think travelers through the area can easily avoid Beltway 8 (the only major one) and the others.  Granted, traffic conditions have a real impact on this, but generally, travelers through the area are passing through on I10 or I45 and can use I610 to avoid the worst of downtown.  Beyond, that, it is possible to miss Houston all together if you don't mind driving a bit farther.

I know a lot more about Houston than I do Dallas or Austin, but I drove "around" Dallas not long ago, missing it all together and 281 west of Austin is, as I recall a beautiful drive.

Again, that's my opinion and worth every cent you paid for it.

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When we go to TX(visit daughter) we stay at a cg at 281 and 8. We have tried using I610, that was  disaster. Tried Beltway 8 thinking the word meant something but it is a multi-lane city street. Was hoping the Grand Parkway would work but they haven't built it south and it is a toll road.

This is the only time we go to Houston and we are skipping this year due to Harvey and campground availability.

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I'm with you Scott.  I've been driving in and around Houston for 50 years, never been on a toll road.  There were times when IH10 was not a good route and I used IH610 quite a bit.

For the past eight years or more, IH10 through Houston is the fastest, best, shortest, most direct, and easiest east/west route.  Like any other large city, pick your times to go through.

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1 hour ago, SWharton said:

Tried Beltway 8 thinking the word meant something but it is a multi-lane city street.

Beltway 8 is essentially the access road for the Sam Houston Tollway.  Several years ago, when we first used it, the two seemed to intermingle and portions were not limited access, but I can assure you that these days the entire Sam Houston is a limited access toll road.  There is at least one toll-free portion on which Beltway 8 traffic also travels, but even that section is limited access.  

We use the Sam Houston with the MH when heading north from Rockport.  We can drive north on TX35 and swing around the east side of the city on the toll road.  IMHO, I'm happy to pay a few dollar toll to avoid stress.  Furthermore, it allows us to avoid an awful construction zone on US59/I-69 just south of Houston.

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2 hours ago, SWharton said:

In VA the only legal items on your windshield is the inspection sticker. I think the police turn a blind eye to the eye to the EZPASS(it may be legal now).

If you check I think you will find that states permit things such as EZPass transponders to be mounted on the windshield in the area that is "behind" the rear view mirror from the driver's perspective.  Virginia is a very big user of EZPass for its multiple High Occupancy Toll Roads in the DC area, so an accommodation had to be made between safety and collecting money! 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have my EZPass and  EZTag (TX) transponders mounted on the windshield with easily removable mounting material.  It's the same stuff that you are given by the states with which to mount the transponders in the first place.  If you've never used it, it's wonderful for hanging things in an RV and you can buy it here: Scotch Dual Lock Fastener although you can also purchase it in rolls and in multiple "strengths".  It's a line of industrial fastening that 3M (Scotch) doesn't spend much time marketing to consumers.  Think of it as "plastic Velcro" that can hold much more per square inch than even heavy duty Velcro and which doesn't degrade with multiple mounting and removal cycles.

Edited by docj
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Howdy!

When I went to the Harris County Toll Road Authority Office in Houston they issued me three tags one for our MDT, one for our Smart Car and another one for our 5er. When I asked where to place the one for our 5er the lady advised me not to place it on the 5er just carry it in our MDT. The 5er would be recorded by license number plate when going through a EZ tag toll. Haven’t had any problems using the tags so far.

” Happy Trails”

 Chiefneon 

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here in ca we do not have toll roads. we pay taxes for our roads,

but some hwys do have comuter toll lanes, 

as for your toll roads are they clearly marked in advance so as to not get stuck backing up to go another way. for those of us that do not live or go there except maybe once in a life time?

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They are marked, how clearly I can't comment on. I find the problem is some have toll booths and some don't. Those with booths are fine, understandable. Those without is where this discussion is mostly.

We were on the Sam Houston Tollway(a big loop around Houston) a few years ago and paid our tolls willingly. All of a sudden it became an EZTAG only road. Out of the clear blue, not much warning, we didn't change roads or anything. There were no signs that the system would read your license plate and bill your(FL has this well advertised). We exited the highway and went a different route.

There are many EZTAG only roads around Houston. Beware!

Since then we have discovered that your license plate would be read and you would be billed but according to the website with high fees. We try to avoid Houston now unless we can go straight through on  I10 or I610. Traffic though is a horrible and we try to go through on Sunday AM.

 

 

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