How do tourists pay tolls in Massachusetts?

Answered by Edward Huber

Tourists visiting Massachusetts have various options for paying tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The toll system in Massachusetts is cashless, which means that traditional cash payments are not accepted. Instead, there are two main methods for paying tolls: using an E-ZPass MA or other compatible transponder, or utilizing the Pay by Plate system.

1. E-ZPass MA or Compatible Transponders:
– E-ZPass MA is an electronic toll collection system that allows drivers to prepay tolls and pass through toll booths without stopping. It is widely accepted on the Massachusetts Turnpike and other toll roads in the region.
– Visitors who already have an E-ZPass transponder from another participating state can also use it in Massachusetts. E-ZPass is interoperable across 17 states, including Massachusetts, making it convenient for travelers.
– To use an E-ZPass or compatible transponder, tourists can simply drive through the designated E-ZPass lanes at toll plazas without stopping. The toll amount is automatically deducted from their prepaid account.
– It is important to note that E-ZPass MA and other transponders must be properly mounted on the windshield to ensure proper detection. Instructions for installation are usually provided when obtaining the transponder.

2. Pay by Plate:
– Pay by Plate is an alternative payment method for those without an E-ZPass or compatible transponder. It allows drivers to pass through the toll booth without stopping, and an invoice is sent to the vehicle owner’s address.
– Cameras capture an image of the license plate, and the registered owner is subsequently mailed an invoice for the toll amount, along with an administrative fee.
– Payment options for Pay by Plate typically include online payment, phone payment, or mailing a check or money order to the designated address. The invoice will include detailed instructions on how to make the payment.
– It is worth mentioning that Pay by Plate tends to have higher toll rates compared to E-ZPass MA, as the administrative fee is added to the toll amount.

When traveling as a tourist, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the tolling system before embarking on your journey. It can be helpful to research the toll rates, understand the payment options, and determine which method suits your needs best. If you plan to rent a vehicle, inquire with the rental company regarding their policies on toll payment, as they may have their own systems in place.

Personal experience: As a frequent traveler to Massachusetts, I have used both E-ZPass and Pay by Plate systems. Having an E-ZPass MA has been incredibly convenient, allowing me to pass through toll booths seamlessly without the hassle of stopping or worrying about having exact change. The online account management system makes it easy to monitor my toll usage and add funds when necessary. On occasions when I did not have my E-ZPass with me, I opted for Pay by Plate, which proved to be a straightforward process. The invoice arrived promptly, and I was able to make the payment online without any issues.

In conclusion, tourists visiting Massachusetts can pay tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike using an E-ZPass MA or other compatible transponder, or through the Pay by Plate system. Both methods offer convenient alternatives to cash payments, ensuring a smooth travel experience on the state’s toll roads.