Mass. (NEWS10) — Starting Friday night, drivers will no longer be able to use any cash while going through the toll booth on the Mass Turnpike.
If they frequently travel to the Boston area or other parts of Massachusetts, they may have noticed large overhead contraptions every so often, or signs along the turnpike warning you of the transition they’re making.
So, what exactly does that mean for you?
There’s a lot of information but, here’s what to know. Come Friday, drivers will have two options when traveling down the Pike.
People can obtain an EZ Pass if they don’t already have one. It costs nothing to get one, users just have to load about $20 on it. That will be used as a piggy bank.
“I can no longer pay cash, wish I was, doing on the car I use occasionally,” said Sean O’Connell from South Hadley, Mass. “Now, I have to get the pass.”
That’s why drivers like O’Connell were at one of the many travel plazas along the turnpike – To get their hands on an EZ Pass.
It can be done either online or at one of the travel plaza service centers. There’s one in Lee.
Drivers can also go by their “Pay to Plate” program. That’s where they’ll drive right through and underneath a contraption called a gantry.
By next month, if drivers are headed towards Boston, they’ll no longer see any toll booths or even a cash only lane.
Instead, they’ll see the electronic tolling system overhead as they drive right through at the normal rate of speed on the turnpike.
Drivers will see a few flashes as it takes a picture of the front and back plate and within a few days, an invoice will be sent in the mail with the toll expense.
Officials say in order to cover the cost of the processing fees to send by mail, the “Pay to Plate” rate may be a few cents higher.
“Let’s say your toll is $3.00. Let’s say it costs us 10 cents to process that transaction, $2.90 of that toll gets put back into the road. Operations, maintenance, construction, policing, want to make sure pay by late [is] still putting $2.90 into the road because it’s what’s fair and equitable for the toll payer,” said MASS DOT Director of Tolling Stephen Collins.
AET, or all electronic tolling, goes into full effect at 10 p.m. Friday night. Immediately following that, there will be around-the-clock construction work at all of the tolling booths simultaneously to tear down the toll booths.
First, they’ll start with the middle then the outer booths. It’s expected to be smooth sailing right through by Nov. 22.