As cashless tolling has become the norm throughout the United States, it’s become increasingly important for both fleet managers and owner-operators to have transponders installed in their vehicles.
If you’ve been researching your options — or even if you’ve just spent a little time driving on toll roads in many parts of the country — it’s likely you know about E-ZPass. E-ZPass got its start in New York in the 1990s, and it gradually expanded to multiple states throughout the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. to become the country’s largest tolling network.
E-ZPass may be the most familiar, but it’s certainly not the only option. If you only drive a passenger car, E-ZPass may be sufficient for your needs. But if your livelihood depends upon trucking, the smart move is to consider a toll management platform like Bestpass.
Systems like E-ZPass are primarily designed to do one thing: make it easier to pay tolls. Platforms like Bestpass offer a much broader scope of control. Here’s a closer look at the differences.
How toll is managed is probably the most crucial difference between systems like E-ZPass and platforms like Bestpass.
E-ZPass is self-managed. That means that even though it’s an automated system, any issues that arise are the customer’s responsibility to handle.
For example, when a transponder misread results in a violation, it’s up to the E-ZPass customer to contact the appropriate tolling authority to resolve the issue. This might be little more than a minor annoyance for the driver of a passenger car with occasional toll activity, but it can be a significant and time-consuming challenge for commercial customers with ongoing toll road use. If misreads occur on trips involving travel through multiple states, the customer is responsible for contacting separate toll authorities from each.
And as most anyone who drives a truck can tell you, those transponders are really designed for the shapes and geometry of cars. Truck misreads are not at all uncommon.
Toll management platforms like Bestpass change the equation. They assume the responsibility for whatever issues come up, leaving customers free to focus on their core businesses — instead of spending hours on the phone with tolling authorities from across the nation.
Bestpass also offers an automated misread identification service (AMIS). It finds instances of max tolls, then looks at transponder activity and automatically adjusts for improper charges. Plus, Bestpass can help to reduce violations by reporting on devices that may not be working or mounted properly. And when violations do occur, customers need only scan and upload them to an online portal. Bestpass takes care of the rest.
Another advantage of a toll management platform like Bestpass is its much wider area of coverage.
Over the past 20-plus years, Bestpass has built and maintained professional relationships with tolling authorities throughout the country. This allows it to provide coverage that includes all major U.S. toll roads — coverage that extends far beyond the area currently covered by E-ZPass.
Those relationships also make it possible for Bestpass to consolidate business accounts with multiple tolling authorities, allowing smaller carriers to qualify for volume discounts to which they would normally not have access. Bestpass can also offer pricing structures custom-tailored to device needs, geographical footprint requirements and fleet size.
Bestpass coverage is not limited to vehicles transponders. Recognizing that adding transponders to a fleet is not always practical, Bestpass also offers coverage by license plate. E-ZPass can use plate recognition to generate bills — and this is something that has taken on greater importance as physical toll booths have continued to disappear — but E-ZPass only provides this service as a stopgap, to capture data on non-customer vehicles.
Data and Reporting
Toll management platforms like Bestpass put powerful data and reporting tools in the hands of commercial customers.
Fleet managers can upload entire vehicle lists, cab cards and truck photos, and manage their accounts with targeted searches and advanced filtering of transponder-related data. An advanced data visualization and analytics platform, Empower, can transform aggregated data into meaningful graphs and reports — offering data insight that can be used to improve operations.
Bestpass customers can also say goodbye to invoices hitting their inboxes throughout the month from multiple toll authorities. What they receive instead is an all-inclusive monthly statement that consolidates over 40 tolling authorities into a single report.
The bottom line for toll management programs is that they are designed to do much more than simply process toll, which is the main purpose of self-managed systems like E-ZPass. E-ZPass was created with personal vehicles in mind, whereas Bestpass was created specifically for commercial vehicles and their needs. Bestpass manages tolling issues on behalf of its customers, providing comprehensive coverage and tools made to maximize efficiency. Bestpass customers can also rely upon the support of a dedicated service team acting as an extension to their own resources — opening doors, sharing their expertise and solving problems.