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Old 04-26-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
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Toll road excess charge for toad.

I'm not certain this is in the proper forum, if not, please relocate it.

In Texas, towing a vehicle behind a Motorhome while going through a toll point, the toll charge is for the Motorhome, pulling a 2 axle trailer, which is significantly more than it would be for the two separate vehicle charge. Even though both vehicles have a valid tag on them. There is also an additional charge levied for the tag in the toads windshield, resulting in double billing.

I have spoken with the toll authority customer service by phone and in person, and they have cheerfully refunded the double charges incurred. They also agreed with me that with the two tags, it would seem that I would be charged the two separate vehicle rate.....but, the toll points count it as a 2 axle trailer, and therefore the extra charge stands.

On a recent trip from Houston to Austin, I incurred approximately $9.00 more in toll charges towing than I would have if I had unhooked and had my wife drive the toad through the toll points. Over time this excess charge really mounts up!

I have written a letter to the Executive Director of the Central Texas Toll Authority to seek his help in the matter. Yes, I am fighting a government bureaucracy which will probably lead nowhere. But I feel that it is a valid complaint.

Maybe, if enough of us that experience the problem would take time to write the appropriate personnel and bring it to their attention, something might be done about it. So, I am soliciting and encouraging that you folks with the same concern, take time to express your views by writing. I intend to solicit help from my state representatives also, to see if I have any success with their involvement.

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Old 04-26-2012, 09:36 AM   #2
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Good thread...looking to relocate to Austin in a couple years when I retire...
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:59 AM   #3
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is there anything that can be used to cover the tag in the toad so that it cannot be read? i realize the TXTAG is stuck to the windshield (I have both EZPass and TXTag), but maybe some kind of reflective tape.

as far as the extra charge, i think most states do that. i pay extra for my dually because some states consider the extra set of tires another axle. they scoffed when i asked "following that logic, if i ride my motorcycle thru, is that considered 1 axle and i pay 1/2 of the normal car charge?" when my trailer is connected, the toll almost doubles. even though the toad is not a trailer, it is another pair of axles on the pavement as well as additional weight.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:16 AM   #4
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Most states treat anything towing a trailer as the same rates as a commerical vehicle and 4 axles are well over the cost or two two axle vehicles. It is not right and I have complained and the answer is if you don't like the tolls, don't use the toll I avoid them as much as possible.

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Old 04-26-2012, 10:41 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
Most states treat anything towing a trailer as the same rates as a commerical vehicle and 4 axles are well over the cost or two two axle vehicles. It is not right and I have complained and the answer is if you don't like the tolls, don't use the toll I avoid them as much as possible.

Same for E-470 in the Denver area. Each extra axle pays almost the same as the first vehicle. If I want to go from my house to I-76, it's $10.70 solo or $29.60 towing a toad. Neither option is worth it to me, so I also avoid the toll roads. At a buck a mile per trip, that road oughtta be paid off faster than it is.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:29 AM   #6
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Same problem with bridge crossings in California. Rather irritating and I almost exited my vehicle and unhooked my toad, but my wife gave me the cease and desist order and the toll taker wasn't very pleasant. I no longer use the bridges, of course I make my Cali stays as brief as possible.

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Old 04-26-2012, 12:13 PM   #7
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I had a similar problem in my prior Motorhome. It was a Classic GMC with two single Tires mounted one in front of the other on the rear. I would get charged the same price as 30,000 lbs trucks. There is a provision for Motor Homes on the Tolls here in NY but it would always require an argument for the Toll taker to accept that. I even carried the Rate schedual with me to show but usually I had to pull over get out and show it and they were always annoyed to say the least. When the toll was from $6. to $16. it was worth it but what a Hassel. When the EZ Pass system came out I was able to register the reader tag as a Motorhome which solved the problem. My present MH is a 33k lbs Dynasty, my old MH a 11,000 lbs GMC paid almost three times the amount.
I always thought the fees were based on weight, but I guess not.
Fortunately the EZpass is mounted with velcro so it can be removed here.
As a side note there is Toll Bridge (the only one in Nassau County NY) that uses a Toll card the fee is based on axles when I drive thru with the Dynasty the Toll taker scratches his or her head after I ask to see the rate for the two axles which is same as passenger vehicle so I pay the $2. rate from my card. They usually say something is wrong but cannot find what. I have even said run the card twice but they cannot do it.
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:18 AM   #8
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I'm afraid I don't agree on the toad not being a trailer. If it is hooked to the back and is being pulled by the lead vehicle, it is a trailer. No difference if it is 4 down, on a tandem wheeled flat bed or enclosed car hauler. If it isn't moving under its own power as a separate vehicle, it should be considered a trailer. I'm not sure what a TXTAG in the windshield is; I'm guessing it is the Texas version of an East Coast E-Z Pass. Our E-Z pass came with a RF proof bag and is mounted on the windshield with strips that resemble 3M Command Strip picture hangers. If we don't want the sensors to detect it, the E-Z Pass pops off and goes into the bag. For instance, my truck and 5ver have a single pass that reads as "non-commercial truck and RV trailer" when going through the detector and charges me accordingly. I have another windshield E-Z Pass for just the truck that reads "non-commercial truck" (when I'm not towing). One or the other stays in the bag so that it isn't detected (resulting in a dual read). The directions from the E-Z Pass folks is that if I tow my other car with the truck to remove the E-Z Pass from the car's windshield and either use the "truck/trailer" E-Z Pass in the truck to be read as truck and trailer or to use the one that just says "non-commercial truck" and it will count the towed car's axles and treat it as a trailer.

I do find it bizarre that they consider a dual wheeled axle as two they collect from an OTR tractor-trailer combination for 9 axles instead of the actual 5? That is odd...

I tend to avoid toll roads whenever possible, however, there are times when I just have to suck it up and consider it part and parcel of the RV lifestyle. I'd much rather pay up most times than have to deal with congested city streets through a strange town hauling my 38" (with bike rack) 5th wheel... One thing that does annoy me a bit is the increasing occurence of E-Z Pass only toll roads. You have to have the E-Z Pass in order to use provision for cash. Fine for us now, we have the E-Z Pass, but, a right royal PITA before we got them.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:28 PM   #9
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Good replies from all of you. I haven't heard from the Toll authority yet, and probably will not.

TXTAG is Austin's answer to the toll road electronic tag. Seems like each toll authority in different cities have their own version and call it something else. My tags are valid throughout Texas, and I presume several other states who have tolls. The tags are stuck to the windshield and instructions are not to remove them, or if removed, it will invalidate them.

Oh well, something to occupy my spare time. Reminds me of Don Quixote.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:44 PM   #10
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I documented a similar experience I had here

Even though I posted that my toll was $43, DW corrected me and showed me it was actually $48! As I recall, several of the responses indicate that a partial refund can be obtained but I didn't bother... I just will avoid that terrible stretch of road in the future.

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Old 05-02-2012, 05:27 PM   #11
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I received a reply from from the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Director of Communications.

Guess it's time to put up my soapbox, and decide whether to avoid toll roads, unhook my toad and travel the tollway separately, or just pay the dadgum fee . After all, solving the problem would take away significant revenue from the Toll Authority.

I am copying the reply in full below.

"Thank you for taking the time to write to us regarding your concerns about the way towed vehicles are charged on the 183A Expressway. The problem you raised is a universal one. Pretty much every toll road in the country charges by axle. There is no simple way to separate out different types of vehicles under this methodology when employing highway speed electronic payment systems. A motorcycle pays the same as a much heavier two axle truck or RV and folks towing small trailers and boats pay the same as much heavier multi-axle trucks. When I worked in Orlando during the 1990ís I routinely faced the same complaint from RV owners. Perhaps someday there will be a reliable technology to address the issue. TxDOT is using a laser based shape classification system on SH45 southeast. However, under that system an RV is still charged a higher toll due to its larger size which equates to greater weight. There are some weigh in motion technologies out there that could eventually be used for toll collection. Still, even if those technologies were employed you would likely be charged more than two cars would be charged, due to the greater weight of the RV. If I can provide any additional information regarding this issue, please let me know."

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