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Thread: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

  1. #1
    kawititnow is offline Participating Member
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    Default To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    I've heard that as "out-of-staters" we don't "have" to pay Texas tolls. Now I know that legally we are required to, but what are the consequences if we run through the Toll Tag lane without a Toll Tag?

    I've also heard the same about Texas parking tickets.

    Any thoughts or personal experiences?

  2. #2
    positano is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Rank speculation on my part, but I suspect that's inaccurate. Many, not all, toll gates have cameras that capture the image of the vehicle tag for cars that blow through without paying. While they may not take any action to enforce the citation if you don't pay, they may very well issue a bench warrant or something similar for failure to pay. The risk is that you get pulled over in Texas at some later date, the officer sees the warrant and takes you to the city jail. You post a bond, hire a lawyer at a substantial cost to advocate your "non-residents don't have to pay" defense, which may or may not be successful. The same is true for even a traditional defense of "you can't prove it was me driving that car". The other bad scenario is you visit Texas in the future, enjoy a great meal or event, only to walk out and find your car is gone. You call the police department to report it stolen, which is when the dispatcher informs you it wasn't stolen - it was towed for failure to pay a traffic or parking citation. More cost, more PIA.

    I'll pay a sawbuck to drive on the toll road and a handful of quarters to plug the meter...

  3. #3
    mattjank is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    I've been wondering the same thing. Up until 2 years or so the George Bush Turnpike just north of Dallas had booths for non-Tx-Tag users to pay, and we would dutifully pull over and pay. Then one trip, the lanes leading to the booths were all closed, and signs were up stating keep moving we will bill you. Now all of the booths are gone, and the we'll bill you signs are still up. We probably travel them 8 times a year, and have yet to receive a bill.

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    adaniel is offline Gold Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    I'm a former Texan and still have a car wth Texas Tags (I will for another 3 weeks unitl I get my new car and will be registering it up here). When I go to my parents home in the Dallas suburbs I usually take Sam Rayburn Tollway (SH 121) which was recently built as a completely electronic only tollway. For me it works when I go under the readers. Since I don't have a TolllTag (equivalent of a PikePass) it just reads my plates and books it into a master computer. This is a STATE ONLY system. So if you have an OK tag you will not be booked into the system.

    Now here's the kicker. I learned this from a family friend who is a state trooper. On tollways where there are frontage roads out of state drivers are expected to take these instead since theres no way to charge you. If you are caught on a tollway with frontage roads you can technically be pulled over and written a citation for "nonpayment of tolls". However, this is never enforced and I imagine if you were to take it to court they would probably just reduce the fine to the actually toll owed which is usually $3-10 depending on where you are and what time fo day.

    IMO Oklahoma does tend to enforce nonpayment of tolls by out of state drivers much more aggressively, as they should since there's no excuse to not pay. I do know a guy at OU who was from Wichita Falls TX and would take the HE Bailey and bragged about taking the pikepass lane. He eventually got caught and slapped with a pretty big ticket. I've always tried to pay when I go on the Turner or Kirkpatrick because its the right thing to do, and I think I can take the hit from a 2 dollar toll. Don't be surprised in the not too distant future TX and OK do something similar to the EZ Tag multistate system up north.

    As far as tickets, yeah don't even try it. They do put active warrants on out of state tags and you will be subject to arrest the second you cross into the state line. And yes local and state police do run non TX plates, especially in areas south Dallas where cars with OK tags are not very common. Why risk that over a $25 parking ticket?

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    SkyWestOKC is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Friend of mine from the FAA was in OKC for additional certification training (He lives in NYC). He has the NYC form of the Pike-Pass, and it billed him to his New York address.

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    kawititnow is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Thanks for the responses.

    A while back I got a PikePass and thought while I'm at it I'll get a NTTA TollTag for when we go down to Dallas for the OU/TX game. I'd only be using it maybe 2 times a year.
    I brought it up to some friends and they said they go through and never pay.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyWestOKC View Post
    Friend of mine from the FAA was in OKC for additional certification training (He lives in NYC). He has the NYC form of the Pike-Pass, and it billed him to his New York address.
    If it works like this that would be sweet. I don't mind paying the toll, just don't want to stop and get behind someone digging around for that last quarter.

  7. #7
    mburlison is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Quote Originally Posted by adaniel View Post
    I'm a former Texan and still have a car wth Texas Tags (I will for another 3 weeks unitl I get my new car and will be registering it up here). When I go to my parents home in the Dallas suburbs I usually take Sam Rayburn Tollway (SH 121) which was recently built as a completely electronic only tollway. For me it works when I go under the readers. Since I don't have a TolllTag (equivalent of a PikePass) it just reads my plates and books it into a master computer. This is a STATE ONLY system. So if you have an OK tag you will not be booked into the system.

    Now here's the kicker. I learned this from a family friend who is a state trooper. On tollways where there are frontage roads out of state drivers are expected to take these instead since theres no way to charge you. If you are caught on a tollway with frontage roads you can technically be pulled over and written a citation for "nonpayment of tolls". However, this is never enforced and I imagine if you were to take it to court they would probably just reduce the fine to the actually toll owed which is usually $3-10 depending on where you are and what time fo day.

    IMO Oklahoma does tend to enforce nonpayment of tolls by out of state drivers much more aggressively, as they should since there's no excuse to not pay. I do know a guy at OU who was from Wichita Falls TX and would take the HE Bailey and bragged about taking the pikepass lane. He eventually got caught and slapped with a pretty big ticket. I've always tried to pay when I go on the Turner or Kirkpatrick because its the right thing to do, and I think I can take the hit from a 2 dollar toll. Don't be surprised in the not too distant future TX and OK do something similar to the EZ Tag multistate system up north.

    As far as tickets, yeah don't even try it. They do put active warrants on out of state tags and you will be subject to arrest the second you cross into the state line. And yes local and state police do run non TX plates, especially in areas south Dallas where cars with OK tags are not very common. Why risk that over a $25 parking ticket?
    I live at 121 & Custer, and it's been my experience (before I had the TX tags on 1 or more of our vehicles) that the bill will eventually find you, out of state or not. I think they wait, though, until the cost of mailing out such a bill is 'worth it'., i.e., if you pass through once a year, it might be a while before you see anything. Seems like when i finally received a bill at my OKC residence (back when I was going back and forth) it was around 10 to 15 dollars. It maybe be all 'in state' now, but that was how it worked for me.

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    bombermwc's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    ^ this right here. They balance the cost of sending the bill to you on what the charges are. Yes, if you are out-of-state, you can ride for "free" but only to the extent that it is less than the cost of billing you. It's not just the bill and the postage, it's the time/manpower that goes on behind the scenes as well. They know what a cost per vehicle is for billing....just as we do. So for example, my once every couple years on the George Bush in far north Dallas doesn't get billed. But if you frequent the thing, say a couple times a year, you'll see a bill sent to you. They just add it up and then pop out the bill.

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    ou48A is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    They make it hard on their out of state drivers, but I found this.




    http://www.ntta.org/AboutUs/Projects/AllETC3.html

    Out-of-state license plates are also recorded for invoicing. Out-of-state vehicle operators may call NTTA
    Customer Service at 972.818.6882 (NTTA) and provide the license plate information to pay for tolls accrued prior to an invoice being sent.

    The NTTA sends bills to out-of-state drivers under the same business rules as in-state customers. Sending out-of-state customers ZipCash bills does require an additional step where the NTTA uses an outside source to look of addresses of the registered owner of the vehicle. The NTTA uses all options available to charge everyone for their use of the toll road. If you travel on roads operated by the NTTA, expect to pay.

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    Snowman's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Quote Originally Posted by adaniel View Post
    ... Don't be surprised in the not too distant future TX and OK do something similar to the EZ Tag multistate system up north ....
    When the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority was originally pitching the stickers they made it sound like they would have already had it set up to do that by the time the sticker system launched as a convenience feature for people traveling to Texas or Kansas and for use in metro parking garages.

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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    I haven't been on a toll road in so long, I don't really know where the little white box is. That's gonna make it hard to return once they get around to asking for it. Oh well, it's gotta be around here somewhere.

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    kawititnow is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman View Post
    When the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority was originally pitching the stickers they made it sound like they would have already had it set up to do that by the time the sticker system launched as a convenience feature for people traveling to Texas or Kansas and for use in metro parking garages.
    I did find this on the pikepass website: https://www.pikepass.com/stickertags/faq.aspx

    Will my PIKEPASS Sticker work on other electronic tolling systems?

    Not at this time. We understand some customers want to be able to use their PIKEPASS in other states and we will continue to work to provide this option in the future. Some PIKEPASSes can, however, be used at the Tulsa Airport for parking. Call 1-800-745-3727 for more information on this valuable service.

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    Snowman's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Quote Originally Posted by kawititnow View Post
    I did find this on the pikepass website: https://www.pikepass.com/stickertags/faq.aspx

    Will my PIKEPASS Sticker work on other electronic tolling systems?

    Not at this time. We understand some customers want to be able to use their PIKEPASS in other states and we will continue to work to provide this option in the future. Some PIKEPASSes can, however, be used at the Tulsa Airport for parking. Call 1-800-745-3727 for more information on this valuable service.
    Right that is what their FAQ page says now but when they were advocating paying the money to buy the equipment for the sticker readers along the entire length of the turnpikes a couple years ago at least a few times it was presented like TX & KS integration was a done deal and would have had the parking garages done by now, not just testing feasibility at one.

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    mburlison is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    I don't think there are any consequences, most people are eventually billed wherever they live... and they won't spend too much trying to find the users that are seldom if they had trouble locating them. It's worth more to them to keep the traffic moving - has to do w/ the air quality and federal funds .

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    rcjunkie is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Quote Originally Posted by mburlison View Post
    I don't think there are any consequences, most people are eventually billed wherever they live... and they won't spend too much trying to find the users that are seldom if they had trouble locating them. It's worth more to them to keep the traffic moving - has to do w/ the air quality and federal funds .
    Honesty is always the best policy, stop and pay the darn toll fee.

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    bombermwc's Avatar
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    rc..it doesn't work that way. On things like the George Bush, they've removed the toll booths alltogether and you don't have the option to stop. There are a places where they haven't taken them out, but they also aren't built like ours. They don't put signage up that says, exit right if you need to pay with cash....there's just an exit off the main stretch that looks like a real exit. So unless you know you have to exit to pay, you miss it totally. I went down half the stretch of the thing and passed 3 plazas like this a few years ago...one of which didn't even have any booths open. Another one had the exit blocked off. So it's not like people are intentionally driving by....it's not anything like what you see on an OK road for a toll plaza.

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    rcjunkie is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Quote Originally Posted by bombermwc View Post
    rc..it doesn't work that way. On things like the George Bush, they've removed the toll booths alltogether and you don't have the option to stop. There are a places where they haven't taken them out, but they also aren't built like ours. They don't put signage up that says, exit right if you need to pay with cash....there's just an exit off the main stretch that looks like a real exit. So unless you know you have to exit to pay, you miss it totally. I went down half the stretch of the thing and passed 3 plazas like this a few years ago...one of which didn't even have any booths open. Another one had the exit blocked off. So it's not like people are intentionally driving by....it's not anything like what you see on an OK road for a toll plaza.
    I drive the Goerge bush toll Road at least every other week, and your correct, this section does not have toll booths, they do however take a picture of your vehicle/tag and mail an invoice to the registered owner, you in turn are expected (and should) mail said payment.

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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Quote Originally Posted by rcjunkie View Post
    I drive the Goerge bush toll Road at least every other week, and your correct, this section does not have toll booths, they do however take a picture of your vehicle/tag and mail an invoice to the registered owner, you in turn are expected (and should) mail said payment.
    That's what CO does as well. Whenever my daughter and her crew travel between wy and denver, a statement goes out for them the following month. no device in the car, no stickers, just decent cameras.

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    kawititnow is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    I was talking to our associate pastor yesterday and he was saying that he accidentally drove through a couple of toll plazas around the Austin area and about a month later he got a bill for like $4.

    As long as there is no fine, additional fee, and it doesn't go on you record I think I'd rather get the invoice a month later than wait behind a line of cars waiting to pay cash.

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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    I actually really like it.....once you get over the feeling that you're breaking the law. Here you know there's an OHP officer ready to pounce on you, so it always makes me feel a bit weird to drive through with no cash/tag. I think they have problems with vanity plates though. Since it's not laid out like a normal tag, maybe they don't know how to automatically process it because I've yet to get a bill. Granted I'm like a once every 3 years kind of user, so that could be it too.

    But it's SOOOOO much better than what we do today. Plus how many other people have stopped at someone along the Turner and had to use a cash only coin machine and it not work right....ever? I've thrown my money in and of course it doesn't work right so I just drive through all the bells and sirens with a big "screw you" on my face.

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    mburlison is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Quote Originally Posted by rcjunkie View Post
    Honesty is always the best policy, stop and pay the darn toll fee.
    What I mean is that there are no stops - so you are billed one of 2 ways 1) by your NTTA tag (which also is good for parking at DFW or DAL) or 2) keep going - they will bill you ---- even the signs say 'keep moving we will bill you'. no harm no foul - the only 'fine' you might someday incur is if you go beyond any reasonable length of time in paying your bill once you get it and they give you plenty of time.

    The Feds match them on some sort of Air Quality thing, so the big thing is to keep the cars moving, not standing still, not pumping exhaust into the air when there is no 'moving' going on as much as can be helped. Rush hour(s) still back things up, but not because you're paying a toll these days. There must be a lot of $$ at stake, because there is a big push to upgrade a lot of the major intersections and widen the highways and access roads where things back up or change even the merge/weave patterns vis the traffic.

    So no worries if you're passing through, if you do it often, it does save some to get the tag, much like the Pikepass. The 2 tags live together on my windshield in harmony --- LOL.

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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Down here the fines only occur if you fail to pay the invoice mailed to you. There is always a story every few months about some person who owes $3,000 in tolls and fines because they used the toll roads for six months and never paid a bill. At one time I had a TollTag (worked in Dallas for 4 months and the office was right off the tollway) and a PikePass, once the roads went in down here I got a TxTag. After the TxTag because useable on the NTTA and HTCA roads I turned in the TollTag. So now I am down to the TxTag and PikePass. It will be nice if they can get the systems to work off one tag in multiple states like they have done in the Northeast.

    Last fall my father-in-law and nephew came to Austin from West Texas last fall, they took a wrong turn and ended up on one of the toll roads. A couple of months later he got a bill ($12.00) in the mail thinking it was a ticket, he took it over to my brother-in-law and they ended up calling my wife and she told him no it's just a bill so he sent in a check. I know of no tickets anymore that are less than $100 unlike the $45 tickets that OKCPD used to hand out 25+ years ago.

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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    i've blown thru them for years in texas with okie plates and texas plates and never have heard a peep.

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    rcjunkie is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    Quote Originally Posted by edcrunk View Post
    i've blown thru them for years in texas with okie plates and texas plates and never have heard a peep.
    IMHO, honesty is always the best policy.

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    Default Re: To Pay or Not to Pay? Texas Toll Roads

    rc - i think you missed the point. They're taking booths out...it's not as though you can stop to throw money out the window to a non-existent booth.

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