Community, News

Tolling system may raise costs

For some commuter students at the University of Miami, the journey to and from school requires the use of major expressways. These students face the reality of paying tolls as a part of their daily routine.

An electronic tolling system has expanded to include roads in Miami-Dade County such as the Dolphin and Airport expressways, and it is changing the way UM commuters pay when they drive to class.

Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) developed this tolling system called Open Road Tolling (ORT) to relieve traffic congestion. The ORT initiative is an automatic billing system through SunPass. Before ORT, tolls were paid at traditional booths.

These most recent roads added to ORT are the SR 836/Dolphin Expressway and SR 122/Airport Expressway, which launched Saturday.

Although drivers may have to pay tolls more regularly than before, members of the Association of Commuter Students (ACS) did not see these changes in cost as significant in light of the overall cost of tolls.

Rather than cost, ACS member Gabriel Prado focused on the speed of automatic tolling.

“Now it’s great because you can just fly by and don’t need to stop,” he said. “It doesn’t take as long to drive places. It’s really about convenience.”

At traditional booths, drivers only pay if they happen to pass that booth. For example, MDX estimates that only about 55 percent of drivers on Dolphin Expressway paid tolls prior to ORT. For unpaid tolls, license plates of vehicles that did not pay were photographed, and the driver was issued a traffic ticket.

Unpaid tolls will now no longer result in a ticket. The vehicle’s license plate will still be photographed, but the driver will receive a bill for only the amount of the toll, plus a processing fee. The system for unpaid tolls also applies to drivers who do not have SunPass.

Freshman Annelise Fernandez, who pays about $145 a month just on tolls, appreciates this update.

“But at least, if I forget my SunPass, now I won’t get charged a full traffic ticket and just the amount of the toll,” she said.

Junior Malik Bibby, however, is not all pleased with these changes. He said the camera systems have taken away job opportunities for those that once sought work at traditional toll booths.

He also mentioned that this system could burden those traveling across state lines.

“It becomes harder to use receipts of travel from tolls to be reimbursed by a business because it takes time for them to find you and send a bill,” Bibby said.

Every vehicle automatically pays a toll just by entering the expressway. The amount of the toll, however, depends on how long a vehicle remains on the route, so a motorist who drives on Dolphin Expressway for 50 feet will not be charged as much as a motorist who drives for a mile.

November 19, 2014

Reporters

S Molly Dominick


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced the 2018-19 schedule, featuring nine tourn ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.