Toll roads have been around since the Roman times as a way of paying for transport infrastructure. Whereas once you had to, somehow by using your free arm, throw a coin into a booth and pray that that your basketball skills had paid off and that the coin would reach its destination in time for you not to have to come to a complete halt at the boom gates; most toll roads are now electronic. They work by simply debiting your bank account and allowing you to drive straight through.
However, there are challenges with this and what many people see as a tax.
- Our populations are increasing
- Out commute distances for work and play in general also increasing
- And we have an expectation that when we want to drive somewhere there will be a road to do so on.
And therein lies the challenge – the roads may be there, but they are congested with everyone else having the very same thought process we are having – driving from point A to B and back.
So central and local governments, in their wisdom, have taken the model used in Roman times to provide the necessary funds to build new highways and maintain existing roads.
All of this is very straightforward – you get into your car and drive. If you drive through a toll point you pay a set fee.
So what happens when you drive and you aren’t in your own vehicle?
You have had to hire a car for a reason – do you simply not drive on a toll road? Of course not, you may have no other choice. So what do you do?
Luckily, councils and toll road financial controllers have anticipated this and ensured there was a process by which you can pay.
Although the vehicle may be owned by and therefore registered by a rental car firm, you as the driver are responsible for the toll on the road you drive on.
If you don’t, you not only incur a fine by the Toll Company but you also will likely incur administration fees from the rental firm as they have to spend inordinate amounts of time marrying up who was driving the vehicle at the specific time of the toll being processed. Imagine that poor woman or man marrying up over 4,000 rental agreements to a 1,000 tolls on different roads in different states…and then have to explain to the driver.
“Mr Blogs, the toll itself was $5.65, however with the infringement notice for the unpaid toll, and our administration fee your invoice currently stands at…how would you like to pay for that?”
It takes a very special person to do that day in and day out.
So you ask – well why don’t the hire companies pay it? – or build it into the price? Well would you like to have to pay for a service you didn’t actually use? Not quite fair.
And frustratingly for car rental suppliers, toll companies won’t allow them to just debit your account – you have to pay it.
So how do you avoid fees, infringement notices and just have the ability to drive worry free?
There are two ways – ring and talk to a human being or do it for yourself online.
It’s as easy in most countries to ‘prepay’ for a week or even a month if you want.
There are toll free numbers to ring- forgive the pun- and with most smartphones you can easily set up an account for a specific period.
So for example, if you hire a car from Company A for 7 days from 1st May – simply set up an online account with a start date and end date with the registration of the vehicle you are driving. As soon as the end date expires so does the account for that vehicle. It’s easy.
The free phone services are usually open for longer hours than the rest of us and can be the helping voice guiding you through the process, if you prefer a human touch and want to avoid the online experience.
Rome may have helped support the toll infrastructure in 4BC, however it’s our driving needs now that ensure that Tolls are one of life’s payoffs for driving safely when we want, where we want, with ease – or as little ease as our fellow commuters will allow.
To help you out even further, here are the links and phone numbers you need to pay your tolls in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
PH: 13 33 31
PH: 131 865
PH: 13 26 29