Edited at 2:55 p.m. May 13, 2014. Edited to add video.
At midnight, motorists on Orange County's toll roads will no longer be able to pay with cash.
Instead, drivers must sign up for an account that allows new equipment to register use of the toll roads with sensors and cameras. Users are then either billed to their credit cards or have a charge deducted from a registered FasTrak account.
Only about 13 percent of the drivers on Orange County's toll roads pay with cash each day, according to officials with the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which oversees the 73, 133, 241 and 261 toll roads.
Charging users through electronic means or pre-registered accounts is a trend in the industry, according to the agency's chairwoman Lisa Bartlett.
The ways to pay tolls, starting at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, are:
- Register for FasTrak, a prepaid account that can be filled up by cash, check, electronic check or a credit card. A transponder records use and billing statements are issued through regular correspondence or email. This option is the least expensive with motorists saving on average 20 percent, or between 45 cents to $1.10 per use. For those who use it less than $25 per month, a $2 fee is levied
- A new ExpressAccount allows motorists to register personal information with the agency that allows for billing through cash, check, electronic check or credit card. Accounts can be managed online or by using a free phone app, no transponder is needed and there's no monthly maintenance fee. But there's a $2 invoice processing fee
- Just drive through, and if a payment is made within 48 hours there are no fines or penalties
The system works by having a high-resolution camera take pictures of license plates.
The agency has removed cash-collection booths.
Officials have previously said they hope to save $13.3 million over the next five years with the new system.
--City News Service