What To Do With No Money On The Florida Turnpike

by on March 16, 2010 15 Comments

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florida417One of the fastest ways to get to Walt Disney World from Orlando International Airport is via the Florida Turnpike (look for signs at the airport reading “FL-417 South”).  There are two or three toll booths along the way, depending on whether you exit at mile marker 6 (for Epcot) or mile marker 3 (Magic Kingdom).  The first two tollbooths are staffed with Florida Turnpike employees, and cost $1.25 each.  The third tollbooth, near the Magic Kingdom exit, is not staffed and costs $0.75.

If you’re taking these roads, we recommend you bring $4 in dollar bills and $3 in quarters for the round-trip drive.  If you find yourself short of cash, however, it’s easy enough to explain to the toll booth attendants; they’ll give you a form to fill out and send in payment later.  But what happens if you find yourself without enough spare change to pay for that last $0.75 toll?  Reader Dave L wants to know:

What happens when you’re on  the toll road and are supposed to pay a $.75 toll, but only have large  bills or a credit card? We drove through the booth because there were people behind us.  Am I doomed?  We’re out of state and I want to pay it.

The first thing we should point out is that you should never get out of your car to ask someone for change.  Besides the risk of being struck by a car, let’s just say that most Floridians do not welcome unexpected visits from strangers walking along the highway.  Simply drive past the tollbooth as Dave did, and follow these instructions.

If you’re driving a rented a car, contact your rental car company and tell them you missed the toll, and see what their policy is on the missed toll.  Some will simply add it to your bill along with a small “convenience charge.”

If this was your own car, you can mail Florida the payment.  This page from the Florida Turnpike’s website has the details for both situations: http://www.floridasturnpike.com/tools_tollviolations.cfm

The worst thing you can do is nothing, so definitely send in that payment.  We’d love to hear from readers who’ve gone through this experience, and how it turned out.

Posted on March 16, 2010

15 Responses to “What To Do With No Money On The Florida Turnpike”

  • Here’s a tip to save money. When leaving the airport, you’ll go through the two tolls on the highway Len mentioned. But you can avoid the third (unmanned) toll booth. Take the International Drive exit (immediately following the second toll). It has no toll and you simply take the exit, drive straight through two traffic lights and you will arrive at the WDW gate.

  • We missed the last $0.75 toll. (It’s a sneaky one!) We called the rental car company immediately then again days later as advised but there was still no record from Florida that we actually missed it. Of course a month and a half later we get a bill for the $0.75 plus a $10.00 service fee. I guess I should be happy it wasn’t more than $10.00.

  • As a related matter, if you’re driving a rental car and screw it up and wind up in the EZpass lane instead of the cash lane, many of the rentals now come pre-installed with an EZpass that activates the first time you drive through the toll plaza. You don’t get a ticket, but you do get subsequently billed for the tolls and a per-day fee that is charged for the entire duration of your rental, no matter which day you actually started using it. Do not ask me how I know.

    • Just a point of clarification, E-ZPass does not work on Florida Toll roads. These roads use the SunPass transponder they look similar, but are not interchangeable.

  • The road in this story is actually the Central Florida GreeneWay, not the Florida’s Turnpike. They are two completely different toll roads. The confusion might be due to the fact that the Central Florida GreeneWay is run by the Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise. I just wanted to make sure your readers don’t get confused.

  • This happened to me a year or two ago. Driving a rental car, I exited the toll road at an unstaffed location and then found I didn’t have enough change. My concern was that notifying the rental company would result in a huge surcharge added to my final bill. And as it happens, doing nothing is what I’m best at — so that’s what I did. Nothing much seemed to come of it. I worried that the rental car company would charge me at a later time, once they received the violation notice from the state. Nope. Either the state decided not to pursue it, or maybe the rental car company decided to “eat” the citation without charging me. But I definitely second Len’s advice about carrying enough moolah to avoid this aggravating scenario.

    • I’ve had a similar experience twice now, at the Orange Blossom exit off of route 528 (where I usually stop for groceries). Both times I’ve blown through the tolls for lack of change, both times I’ve suffered no consequences.

      Not that I’d suggest this as a strategy of course….

  • Returning to the airport from Disney, I did not have the change for the $0.75 first toll. I stopped at the next manned one booth and tried to pay the $0.75 plus the $1.25. The attendant took it and gave me a receipt. Have since bought a SunPass – if you go a couple of times a year, it is easier!

  • by Richard Mercer on March 17, 2010, at 10:38 am EST

    It would be great if the next edition of the UG had a short section detailing alternative ways to pay the tolls, including those provided by the various rental agencies. When I rented from National last December they offered a Sunpass service for $10 plus the cost of tolls. I didn’t do it then but probably will in June, when we will be doing a cruise plus WDW, with four runs on 417 plus two on 528.

  • My Wife and I were our anniversary last year, and we didn’t have the correct change for one of the unmanned tollbooths. We were driving a rental car, and as soon as we missed the toll, we called the rental car agency. I believe we talked to 3 or 4 people at the rental agency and got 3 or 4 different answers on what to do. I didn’t want to pay any “convenience charge” for missing a 75 cents toll, so I took it into my own hands. I wrote down all the information of my rental car, and mailed in a 75 cent check to Florida DOT. I included a letter explaining that I missed the toll, and that I was out of state, in a rental car. Florida DOT cashed my checked, and there were no extra charges on my credit card from the rental company. I am definitely glad I mailed my payment in, because $10 is a harsh penalty for missing a 75 cent toll.

  • The first time this happened to us I got out of the car and asked for change and the first person was happy to help.

    The next year there was a man standiing out and asking for change and this time I was prepared with lots of change, he thanked me and said I saved his life.

    I think people are really understanding about this ridiculous toll both.

  • I accidentally went through the SunPass lane on the turnpike. I called a friend who told me since it was my first time they probably wouldn’t fine me. I forgot about it until I get a letter in the mail fining me 3.00 . Paying it is always smarter than not, because you’ll get a bigger fine if you don’t.

  • Hire some attendants!!!

  • If you are a visitor and are hiring a car – opt for the pass from the rental company. It is ridiculous to be charge exorbitant admin fees for being caught out. It is very difficult to avoid toll ways in Florida.

  • Great information on paying your toll fees and staying out of trouble with Florida Turnpike folks.