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Your cash will not be accepted on Orange County toll roads!

I used to tell people, “Welcome to California. I hope that you brought cash.” :-)

But it looks like cash will no longer be good enough…! :-)

The operators of Orange County‘s toll roads are planning to eliminate cash payments and toll booth jobs for the route 73, 261, 241 and 133 toll roads. Drivers will have to have payment accounts linked to their transponders or their license plates to use the corridors. FasTrak transponders and license plate accounts automatically deduct money from the credit line established by drivers. The ability to use cash payments will be phased out over the next 16 months.

THAT is bound to cause a few surprises, and it only takes a few surprises to delay traffic for hours! :-) If the changes occurred ALL AT ONCE, at least you could PLAN for them!

Speaking of surprises – did you know that a rate hike will take place on Sunday, July 1 on Orange County toll roads? I wonder what effect THAT will have on traffic jams? :-)

Cash tolls will increase 25 to 50 cents at most toll plazas and FasTrak tolls will increase 5% to 10%. Rates vary, depending on the time of day.

The changes, which will eliminate about 100 toll booth jobs, come about a year after the 73 toll road project restructured its roughly $2.1 billion in debt. An agreement with bondholders requires the agency to hike tolls whenever feasible.

Ridership on Orange County toll roads is falling below projections, which means operators are looking of long-term solutions to save money. According to the L.A. Times:

Without toll booths, even casual users will have to register beforehand or else pay a fine for using the public road. Cameras will capture license plate numbers, and motorists who have set up pre-paid accounts registered to the photographed number will be billed.

FasTrak customers will still be able to use their transponders, according to the Transportation Corridor Agencies website.

Drivers who use the toll roads but haven’t registered their license plate numbers will receive a violation unless they pay the toll online within 48 hours, said Lori Olin, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which oversees the entire network of tollways.

The fine is currently $57.50, plus the toll amount.

If all of these changes seem confusing to Californians, IMAGINE their effect on visitors from out of state and out of the country!

Have fun, everyone! 😉

-Bill at

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