The Ohio Turnpike will soon be offering E-ZPass devices at its service plaza convenience stores. Turnpike executive director Rick Hodges says that the palm-sized devices, called transponders, could go on sale as soon as April 1.
The turnpike is hoping to sell more of the devices, which are mounted on a vehicle's windshield and allow drivers to move more quickly through gates by paying tolls electronically. E-ZPass drivers also pay less than those who pay using cash or credit cards.
More E-ZPass users would mean less toll workers needed and improved traffic flow.
According to a recent report, cars used E-ZPass about 30 percent of the time to pay tolls, while trucks used them about 60 percent of the time.
Presently, drivers can purchase an E-ZPass device by mail, phone, or computer, or by visiting the turnpike's headquarters in Berea. An E-ZPass dispensing machine was also installed last summer at the turnpike's Middle Ridge Service Plaza in Amherst on the westbound side.
Unfortunately, drivers who buy the devices at the service plazas will not be able to use them instantly. They'll first need to call the turnpike's customer service center to have them activated.
In the past three years the turnpike has sold 157,000 transponders. Customers use credit cards to open up a $25 account that is then debited with each toll and later replenished as needed.