State association offers toll/bypass tag

While it's technically feasible to use just one RFID transponder tag for the major automated toll collection and weigh-station bypass systems, registering that tag with the various entities involved makes it impractical, if not nearly impossible. Now, however, the New York State Motor Truck Assn (NYSMTA). says it has developed a system that will let fleets use a single tag for E-ZPass toll collection

While it's technically feasible to use just one RFID transponder tag for the major automated toll collection and weigh-station bypass systems, registering that tag with the various entities involved makes it impractical, if not nearly impossible. Now, however, the New York State Motor Truck Assn (NYSMTA). says it has developed a system that will let fleets use a single tag for E-ZPass toll collection in a number of Eastern states as well as for PrePass and Norpass bypass networks. Better still, NYSMTA says its Bestpass system cuts toll costs for fleets of all sizes while simplifying payment, all at no cost to the fleet.

Operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of NYSMTA, Bestpass was originally created to help association members earn higher volume discounts on automated E-ZPass tolls for the N.Y. State Thruway, according to association president William G. Joyce Jr. “We set up a master account with the thruway, which means we pay the thruway authority and maintain the (payment) bond,” says Joyce. “That benefits E-ZPass because it gives them just a single contact for hundreds of customers, which helps cut down their back-office costs. It also increases E-ZPass penetration, which further helps them control toll-collecting costs and decrease congestion at toll booths.”

For fleets, the aggregated tolls earn higher volume discounts for all and free fleets from the cost of maintaining bonds with the thruway authority. NYSMTA also created a software program that simplifies the billing process by associating each tag ID number with the fleet's own truck number or other unique identifier on its invoices. “That makes it much easier to pick up discrepancies in their bills,” says Joyce. “We had one fleet that was able to recover $14,000 for the thruway authority.”

Currently, Bestpass has 315 fleets registered in N.Y. and toll billings for the thruway are approaching $1 million a month, says Joyce,

Bestpass really began to take off when Maryland decided to move from pre-paid toll tickets to the E-ZPass system, according to Joyce. “We offered to help the Maryland Motor Truck Assn. set up a program like ours, but then we decided to just expand ours to include Maryland,” says Joyce.

Today Bestpass handles automated toll collection for Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio as well as N.Y. and Ohio, saving fleets between 5% and 15% through volume discounts. It also helps fleets decide which states' tags will give it the biggest cost savings based on varying state discount policies and a fleet's operating characteristics.

PrePass has an interoperability agreement with E-ZPass, allowing Bestpass to expand its registration services to that weigh-station bypass system. At this point, it doesn't collect PrePass monthly fees, but Joyce says it is currently talking to PrePass about that. For fleets that want to use the Norpass network, Bestpass helps them obtain a tag that can be registered with that system as well as PrePass and E-ZPass. There are no fees for Norpass.

Bestpass is a free service open to truck fleets of all types and sizes, and does not require membership in any state trucking association. The only fee is a one-time charge of $0.75 per truck for inputting IDs into the software system. The service is self-sustaining, taking a small portion of the volume discounts earned to pay for its administrative and bond costs. “But carriers always get a better discount than they would on their own,” says Joyce. “The sole purpose of Bestpass is to benefit the trucking industry.”

For more information, contact the NYSMTA at 518-458-9696.

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