Cash-Free Toll Booths Stump SoCal Drivers

A $2.50 toll can become a $50 bill with a penalty, but drivers can get that penalty reduced if they sign up for an account with The Toll Roads

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A new automated system on Orange County toll roads is speeding some drivers on their way, while thousands of others try to figure out why they are getting huge bills in the mail. Vikki Vargas reports from Mission Viejo for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 30, 2014.

    Drivers commuting on Southern California freeways who have yet to adjust to the cash-free toll booths along Orange County routes have some options when it comes to paying down fines.

    Two weeks into the new no-cash policy, Transportation Corridor Agency officials said they are issuing 15,000 toll violation fines per day.

    The cash-collecting toll booths closed May 14, but motorists aren't prepared.

    Driver Ben Conant said he has always paid cash for his trip on the 73 Freeway. He panicked when he found out he would have to pay online within 48 hours.

    "I'm so used to staying to the right, I wish there was a sign a little bit sooner," Conant said.

    Toll officials said 13 percent of drivers were using cash to pay, while the rest of Fastrak accounts. A new ExpressAccount allows drivers to pay as they go.

    "We stop by the toll booth, look around, and nobody. Not signs, not anything else," said driver Rosa Cardenas, who got a fine for running a toll on the 241 Freeway. "Wish me luck."

    A $2.50 toll can become a $50 bill with a penalty, but drivers can get that penalty reduced if they sign up for an account with The Toll Roads.

    "What'll happen is, it'll reduce the penalty you'll pay for the violation to $5," said Lisa Telles with the Transportation Corridor Agency. "The balance of the amount paid will go into your account as tolls."

    Cardenas went to The Toll Roads to pay what she thought would be a large fine, but she opened an account and walked out having paid the amount of the actual toll: $5.75.

    There are 51 miles of toll roads connecting Orange County from Yorba Linda to Laguna Beach and east to Rancho Santa Margarita. The fees are based on how much of the pavement one driver covers.

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