If you fly to Orlando and rent a car, you will find that it is impossible to avoid having to pay road tolls. Here is a way to pay the tolls in a very convenient way, and save lots of money.
When you fly to Orlando and rent a car, you cannot help having to pay road tolls. There are two familiar ways to pay the tolls:
- use the toll payment path provided by your car rental company, or
- pay cash for each toll.
The first way has the big drawback that your car rental company will charge a substantial convenience fee, above and beyond the actual cost of the tolls. This convenience fee might add up to several dollars per day. But at least you can drive through each toll plaza, just as fast as the cars around you.
The second way has the big drawback that you have to slow down and stop at each toll plaza. And you have to fumble for cash or coins for each toll.
There’s a smart way to do better. It is called Visitor Toll Pass. You get a hang tag that goes on your rear-view mirror. You get charged for each toll, at a price that is cheaper than the cash price. And you can drive through each toll plaza just as fast as the cars around you.
To get the hang tag, you download and install an app on your smart phone. You create an account, setting up a credit card for payment of tolls. You need to do all of this before you arrive in Orlando.
Upon arriving at the Orlando airport, you have to somehow get your hands on one of the hang tags. If your car rental is on the Terminal-A side, you are in luck. You simply find the Visitor Toll Pass Vending Machine which is directly on your way to the place where you will pick up your rental car.
If your car rental is on the Terminal-B side, then you have to go way out of your way, all the way over to the Terminal-A side of the airport to find the Visitor Toll Pass Vending Machine, of which there is only one in the entire airport and it is in completely the wrong place for half of the people who arrive at Orlando airport.
So you present yourself at the vending machine and you use your app to coax a hang tag out of the machine.
Next you go to your rental car location and pick up your rental car. So far so good. Now we have a first “gotcha”. You need to plan ahead and hang your hang tag on your rear-view mirror prior to exiting the parking garage. The reason for this is that there is a scanner at the exit which snaps a photo of your rental car license plate, and reads a Secret Code Number in your hang tag, and loads this information into some central database.
If you screw this up, there is a way to fix your screwup. You log in at your app and you manually enter your license plate information into the app.
Related to this is the potential “gotcha” that would arise if you switch rental cars during your rental period. You would need to remember to go into the app to load the new license plate information into the app.
There is also a second “gotcha”. Back when you were renting your rental car, you needed to expressly decline the toll payment path provided by your car rental company. This may require checking a box to “decline”. Or it may require unchecking a box that would have signed up for the toll payment path.
Now you get the best of both worlds. You get to drive through each toll plaza just as fast as all of the other cars. And you don’t have to slow down and stop at each toll plaza to pay cash. And you will pay the discounted price for each toll that is better than the cash price for the toll.
There is a third “gotcha”. When you are all done with your rental car, you need to remember to return the hang tag. You have to remember to drop it into a drop box. This is not as difficult as getting the hang tag in the first place. There are three of the drop boxes on the A side of the terminal and three more drop boxes on the B side. they are located in places that are very convenient as you work your way back from the car return location to the main terminal of the airport to board your flight away from Orlando.
The “gotcha” is that if you forget, you will get charged $10 for the hang tag.
There is a fourth “gotcha”. You might get dinged by your rental car company for a toll. What might happen is, the toll plaza antenna system might somehow fail to detect your hang tag. Or you might have screwed up and failed to communicate your rental car license plate information to the Visitor Toll Pass System. If any of these things were to go wrong, then the toll plaza might snap a photo of your license plate, and then send a bill to your rental car company, and you would get dinged not only for the toll itself but also for the $4 or $8 convenience fee. If this happens, you are invited to call up the Visitor Toll Pass office at +1-407-690-5300 and I guess they will somehow try to make the problem go away.
Assuming you are alert and pay attention to all of the potential “gotchas”, you will get the best of both worlds. You get to drive through each toll plaza just as fast as all of the other cars. And you don’t have to slow down and stop at each toll plaza to pay cash. And you will pay the discounted price for each toll that is better than the cash price for the toll.