Thursday, July 23, 2009

I’ll Put Up an Ugly Box to Save 50¢

After having to deal with tollroads twice this month, I thought it might be a good idea to get a transponder so that I could use electronic tolling. Had I had it, I would have been able to save quite a bit of money during my travels to DC and Chicago since some of the roads have discounted tolls when you use the transponders.

I had the choice of getting I-PASS for the Illinois Tollway, I-Zoom for Indiana’s, and E-ZPass for a bunch states further east (which will include Ohio soon). All three are compatible with each other and operate together as the E-ZPass Interagency Group. Generally, having a transponder from one network will allow you to have access to the others but full benefits might not transfer. For example, a person with I-Zoom can’t park in some parking lots that accept payment from E-ZPass. For a brief moment a while back, it looked like Indiana might not have allowed I-PASS users discounts that they provide to I-Zoom users which prompted Illinois to threaten that it would cancel all I-PASS accounts for Indiana drivers. Indiana relented. I debated between the I-PASS and I-Zoom but settled on the I-PASS. I can avoid the Indiana tollroad if I want unless I’m traveling east (which is an every few years occurrence) but Chicago is harder to dodge. The I-PASS also had fewer restrictions on automatic replenishment of the account. But what sold me was that if Indiana and Illinois get into a spat again, I’d rather be on the Illinois side enjoying their discounts.

When Ohio joins the network, I will be able to travel the tollway systems here in the Midwest out to the Northeast all on one transponder. Maybe one day I can also use it on the Florida Turnpike although for right now, it doesn’t seem likely.


Anonymous said...

I-PASS is so much better than I-Zoom. I've had mine for four years now. I pass through the Chicago area at least 12 times a year so it makes my life much simpler.

Anonymous said...

Whoops! TardisGirl zoomed out without signing her post. :-)