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Cashless Tolling coming soon to Oklahoma

Started by Great Lakes Roads, February 05, 2021, 02:15:52 AM

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Great Lakes Roads

https://tulsaworld.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/house-bill-moves-fully-automated-cashless-turnpike-system-into-fast-lane/article_8f3bd50a-6710-11eb-bb95-ab0ce6aeba6d.html

Well, cash will be starting to be no longer be accepted on the Oklahoma Turnpike system starting in July with the Kilpatrick Turnpike. I guess that COVID sped up the cashless tolling in several states like California (Bay Area Toll Authority), Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Turnpike system), Maryland, Illinois and now Oklahoma.


Ned Weasel

Quote from: Great Lakes Roads on February 05, 2021, 02:15:52 AM
https://tulsaworld.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/house-bill-moves-fully-automated-cashless-turnpike-system-into-fast-lane/article_8f3bd50a-6710-11eb-bb95-ab0ce6aeba6d.html

Well, cash will be starting to be no longer be accepted on the Oklahoma Turnpike system starting in July with the Kilpatrick Turnpike. I guess that COVID sped up the cashless tolling in several states like California (Bay Area Toll Authority), Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Turnpike system), Maryland, Illinois and now Oklahoma.

How are they going to convert the Turner and Will Rogers Turnpikes, which use a hybrid ticket-based/point tolling system for non-Pikepass drivers, in the form of receipts and refunds?  Similar to the issue with any ticket-based tolling system, this system would need to record every driver's entry point in order to issue the refunds accordingly where applicable.  The article doesn't explain anything about how that will work without paper receipts.
"I was raised by a cup of coffee." - Strong Bad imitating Homsar

Disclaimer: Views I express are my own and don't reflect any employer or associated entity.

Bobby5280

If cashless tolling was somehow illegal we would have seen a tide of lawsuits over it by now.

I vastly prefer having a PikePass and being able to drive through a properly designed toll plaza at normal highway speed. Too much stupidity happens in the cash only lanes.

I really wish OTA would get off its dead @$$ and replace that ratty, dilapidated toll booth on I-44 at the Walters Exit. I'm guessing in order for that problem to get the OTA's attention it will literally take a vehicle falling through the crumbling bridge into the toll booths! With a 100% cash-less setup they will have to do at least some sort of renovation on that structure. It's going to really suck if we keep having to slow down to 25mph to go through a toll booth that is no longer occupied by people.

Quote from: 1Cash is legal tender for all debts.

That's not a blanket policy in reality. Retail stores can refuse bills above a certain amount. It's very common for convenience stores to refuse anything larger than a $20 bill.

Several years ago I witnessed a JERK inside a local convenience store angrily chewing out the cashier because she wouldn't take the guy's $100 bill. He was yelling out a lot of "this is legal tender" crap. I was getting sick of this since I just wanted to pay for my soft drink and get out of there. When he started insulting the lady I lost my cool and tore into the guy. I told him he was a coward for yelling at a store employee who was powerless to talk back to him (unless she wanted to get fired). She's not getting paid nearly enough to put up with that $#!+. I told him to stop being such a douchebag and get out a smaller bill, "no one is impressed that you have $100 bills in your wallet!"

Of course we have the other syndrome where people will pay for pack of chewing gum with a credit card. And then there are still people who will write out a paper check at the cash register. I imagine some people try paying for their turnpike tolls with a paper check at the toll booth. All the more reason to have a PikePass.

hotdogPi

Quote from: Bobby5280 on February 05, 2021, 11:05:03 AM
Quote from: 1Cash is legal tender for all debts.

That's not a blanket policy in reality. Retail stores can refuse bills above a certain amount. It's very common for convenience stores to refuse anything larger than a $20 bill.

Several years ago I witnessed a JERK inside a local convenience store angrily chewing out the cashier because she wouldn't take the guy's $100 bill. He was yelling out a lot of "this is legal tender" crap. I was getting sick of this since I just wanted to pay for my soft drink and get out of there. When he started insulting the lady I lost my cool and tore into the guy. I told him he was a coward for yelling at a store employee who was powerless to talk back to him (unless she wanted to get fired). She's not getting paid nearly enough to put up with that $#!+. I told him to stop being such a douchebag and get out a smaller bill, "no one is impressed that you have $100 bills in your wallet!"

That's not a debt, as you don't receive the item before paying.
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Lowest untraveled number: 14
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1995hoo

The "legal tender" arguments are a strawman. Every state that has cashless toll facilities has a statute in place requiring you to "make arrangements" (or similar wording) for payment with the toll road operator before you enter the toll road. Many states will also let you fund your transponder with cash if you want, though how they do that will vary. You could probably mail in a cash payment if you want, though whether that's a good idea is a totally different question!

There is absolutely nothing "illegal" about stores not taking cash, according to the US government. As "1" pointed out, there is no "debt" if you're simply trying to buy something. (Incidentally, the "make arrangements for payment" thing is sort of similar to how some stores will post a sign saying "Bills larger than $20 not accepted" or similar. You're on notice of the restriction in advance, even if you choose to ignore it. There used to be a furniture store in Northern Virginia called SCAN that didn't accept cash as long ago as the early 1980s. The sign on the door was prominent and it was noted in their newspaper ads as well.)

The easiest way to break a $100 bill if needed is to use the automatic checkout lane at the grocery store.
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commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

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kphoger

It doesn't matter anyway, because they'll still take US Dollars as payment of your debt–they just have to be electronically transferred rather than handed over in hard cash.
Keep right except to pass.  Yes.  You.
Visit scenic Orleans County, NY!
Male pronouns, please.

Quote from: Philip K. DickIf you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.

ahj2000

If cash was really so necessary, why not the throw the change in the bucket method of collection vs interaction with a person?
That would satisfy the new touch less desire without there being a need for all electronic payments.
Also-can't you pay for toll booths and such via cash when the bill comes? Or do they only take card/check? (I've never used anything but a card, personally)

The Ghostbuster

There may come a day when all money transactions are done electronically. I can't predict when/if such a day might come, but I can't dismiss it entirely. The day when all tolls on toll roads are paid electronically will probably happen much sooner, so its good that Oklahoma is going cashless.

kphoger

Keep right except to pass.  Yes.  You.
Visit scenic Orleans County, NY!
Male pronouns, please.

Quote from: Philip K. DickIf you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.

GaryV

#9
The Fed says cash does not have to be accepted:  https://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/currency_12772.htm

(better link without my search criteria embedded)


hotdogPi

Quote from: GaryV on February 05, 2021, 12:53:15 PM
The Fed says cash does not have to be accepted:  https://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/currency_12772.htm#:~:text=5103%2C%20entitled%20%22Legal%20tender%2C,is%20a%20valid%20and%20legal

That page basically says that if it's not a debt, it doesn't apply. Entering a toll road is a debt between when you take the entrance ramp and when you pay.
Clinched

Traveled, plus
US 13,44,50
MA 22,40,107,109,117,119,126,141,159
NH 27, 111A(E); CA 133; NY 366; GA 42, 140; FL A1A, 7; CT 32; VT 2A, 5A; PA 3, 51, 60, QC 162, 165, 263; 🇬🇧A100, A3211, A3213, A3215, A4222; 🇫🇷95 D316

Lowest untraveled number: 14
Expected lowest untraveled number tomorrow: 25

kphoger

Quote from: 1 on February 05, 2021, 12:54:44 PM

Quote from: GaryV on February 05, 2021, 12:53:15 PM
The Fed says cash does not have to be accepted:  https://www.federalreserve.gov/faqs/currency_12772.htm#:~:text=5103%2C%20entitled%20%22Legal%20tender%2C,is%20a%20valid%20and%20legal

That page basically says that if it's not a debt, it doesn't apply. Entering a toll road is a debt between when you take the entrance ramp and when you pay.

That page basically says businesses are not required by law to accept hard cash.  "There is no federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services."

Section 31 U.S.C. 5103 was written in order to maintain a standard nationwide currency by stipulating that businesses cannot refuse US currency in favor of foreign currency.  In full, it states:  "United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues. Foreign gold or silver coins are not legal tender for debts."

It means that hard cash US currency is a valid method of paying a debt.  It does not state that every business must accept that particular method.
Keep right except to pass.  Yes.  You.
Visit scenic Orleans County, NY!
Male pronouns, please.

Quote from: Philip K. DickIf you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them.

Scott5114

My understanding, having looked into this before in a retail context, is that legal tender rules hinge on the term "debt". If you buy something from Walmart, you are not incurring a debt, because you do not take ownership of the items until after the money changes hands. Walmart can thus require or disallow any form of payment they choose, because if you disagree, the items still belong to Walmart and everyone is square. It's like vending machines that only accept coins; if all you have is bills or credit cards, you just don't get a candy bar. If you go to a typical restaurant, though, and pay the check after you dine, you have incurred a debt because the food is in your belly, so the only way you and the restaurant can be square is by you paying up.

If you allow your customers to incur a debt, you are obliged to accept cash, so long as you do not specify that cash will not be accepted before the debt is incurred. So if OTA puts up a yellow sign before the ramp that says "PIKEPASS OR PAY-BY-PLATE ONLY" (which as far as I know every toll operator does), it's perfectly fine. Cash is only required to be accepted if someone doesn't outright state ahead of time what form of payment you will accept and then allows you to incur a debt.

Quote from: stridentweasel on February 05, 2021, 06:41:38 AM
How are they going to convert the Turner and Will Rogers Turnpikes, which use a hybrid ticket-based/point tolling system for non-Pikepass drivers, in the form of receipts and refunds?  Similar to the issue with any ticket-based tolling system, this system would need to record every driver's entry point in order to issue the refunds accordingly where applicable.  The article doesn't explain anything about how that will work without paper receipts.

The way that the Turner and Will Rogers work is as follows: say you are going from OKC to Tulsa on the eastbound Turner. The entry plaza for all eastbound traffic is assumed to be Oklahoma City. If you leave the turnpike at any of the exits on the west half of the turnpike, you pay the toll according to an entry at OKC, unless you have an entry receipt showing that you got on somewhere east of that and thus are entitled to a lower toll rate.

When you reach the halfway point, there is a barrier toll, where everyone pays the full amount as if they were exiting at Tulsa. By default, the entry plaza is still assumed to be OKC unless you have an entry receipt. If you are going to Tulsa, now, you are fully paid up and don't have to deal with another toll at all. However, if you exit early, between the barrier toll and Tulsa, you give them your receipt from the barrier toll, and the exit toll plaza pays you a refund to make up for the extra money you paid back at the barrier toll for the portion of toll road you're not using.

There's no reason you couldn't convert this process to be all electronic, having an eastbound vehicle with no entry plaza recorded be assumed by the system to have entered at Oklahoma City, and calculate all the debits and refunds accordingly. However, I do think that I've seen Pikepass readers already installed at the turnpike termini, so it's likely the system already is recording that data and doing a more straightforward version of the accounting.
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Bobby5280

The PikePass system already tracks to some degree where drivers are leaving a turnpike early and thus deserving a small refund on a main line barrier toll. But there are discrepancies -which allows me to bring up the Walters exit on I-44 again.

If you drive South out of Lawton on I-44 and then exit the H.E. Bailey Turnpike at the Walters exit you're supposed to pay a lesser toll than you would if you drove all the way down to the turnpike's end at the Randlett exit. The current (and very old) configuration of the Walters exit requires anyone exiting at Walters to get over to the right and exit via the cash lane. I have to tell the toll booth clerk I'm exiting and he inputs the right toll amount. I guess they have some kind of PikePass reader I can't see or something. The toll booth attendants wave me through. Obviously if OTA goes completely cash-less on tolling (and getting rid of the human toll booth attendants) they're going to have to re-configure that exit somehow. Really they just need to do a complete tear-down and re-build of the whole damned thing.

rte66man

Quote from: Bobby5280 on February 05, 2021, 10:17:44 PM
The PikePass system already tracks to some degree where drivers are leaving a turnpike early and thus deserving a small refund on a main line barrier toll. But there are discrepancies -which allows me to bring up the Walters exit on I-44 again.

If you drive South out of Lawton on I-44 and then exit the H.E. Bailey Turnpike at the Walters exit you're supposed to pay a lesser toll than you would if you drove all the way down to the turnpike's end at the Randlett exit. The current (and very old) configuration of the Walters exit requires anyone exiting at Walters to get over to the right and exit via the cash lane. I have to tell the toll booth clerk I'm exiting and he inputs the right toll amount. I guess they have some kind of PikePass reader I can't see or something. The toll booth attendants wave me through. Obviously if OTA goes completely cash-less on tolling (and getting rid of the human toll booth attendants) they're going to have to re-configure that exit somehow. Really they just need to do a complete tear-down and re-build of the whole damned thing.

I believe the long-term goal is to rebuild it to look like the OK9 interchange on the Indian Nation near Dustin:
https://www.google.com/maps/@35.2670715,-95.9351267,17z

You can see how the NB traffic gets a separate lane.
https://www.google.com/maps/@35.2665275,-95.9331121,3a,75y,332.96h,87.6t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sLXdp2JHucASfu6SuO15uaw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

SInce they removed the center concession area here, it's not an exact parallel but you get the general idea.
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Bobby5280

I figured they would re-build the Walters toll plaza on I-44 like the most recent re-build of the toll plaza on the Muskogee Turnpike at the OK-51 exit SE of Tulsa. With a move to automated, cash-less tolling OTA wouldn't have to build any outboard cash lanes and human run toll booths. They could just erect an overhead PikePass reader gantry over the I-44 main lanes South of the exit and readers at the on/off ramps. OTA still needs to replace that OK-5/US-277 bridge over the Walters exit toll booths. The thing is falling apart. And those hourglass shaped off ramps have gotta go.

MikeTheActuary

Quote from: Scott5114 on February 05, 2021, 03:44:44 PMThere's no reason you couldn't convert this process to be all electronic, having an eastbound vehicle with no entry plaza recorded be assumed by the system to have entered at Oklahoma City, and calculate all the debits and refunds accordingly. However, I do think that I've seen Pikepass readers already installed at the turnpike termini, so it's likely the system already is recording that data and doing a more straightforward version of the accounting.

Or they could do what the MassPike did when they went all-electronic: Abandon the (entry vs exit point) pricing model, and charge based on how many inter-exit gantries you pass through.

Scott5114

True, but that would require OTA to install a bunch of inter-exit gantries, of which there are none at the moment. Most of the OTA system goes through far less densely-populated territory than the MassPike does, so that could potentially require running a decent amount of electrical line. Doable, but probably less cost-effective than the current model.
uncontrollable freak sardine salad chef

Ned Weasel

#18
Quote from: Scott5114 on February 08, 2021, 01:48:32 AM
True, but that would require OTA to install a bunch of inter-exit gantries, of which there are none at the moment. Most of the OTA system goes through far less densely-populated territory than the MassPike does, so that could potentially require running a decent amount of electrical line. Doable, but probably less cost-effective than the current model.

I did think of one potential flaw in the current model, which is probably unique to the Turner and Will Rogers's ticket/point hybrid system.  If you pay a pair of tolls that warrants a refund at the second toll (such going east through the mid-point toll plaza on the Turner Turnpike and then exiting somewhere significantly west of Tulsa), in order for the system to be fair, it would have to read both toll points with 100% accuracy.  However, we know that electronic systems are prone to mis-reads.  So in this case, unless I'm missing a piece of information, the system would overcharge a user if it fails to read an exit toll that should result in a refund.

AET on "regular" ticket systems and point tolling systems don't have this problem; they just let the mis-read be a sunk cost.  If an entry read fails on a ticket system, the exit toll (if I'm not mistaking) is not charged, because the system has no entry data and thus cannot make a fair assessment of the driver's entry point.  If an exit read fails on a ticket system, even more obvious that it's a free trip.  On a "regular" point tolling system, if any of the tolls are mis-read on a driver's trip, it's even less of a sunk cost, because the driver will most likely still be charged for some of the trip.  It's funny how the ticket system used to be a more ideal model for tolling, because drivers didn't have to stop every dozen or so miles to pay a toll; they only had to stop at entry and exit points.  One might prefer the scenery of the Garden State Parkway but would probably prefer the convenience of the ticket-based toll system on the New Jersey Turnpike.  AET has flipped this ideal on its head such that it's far more logistically viable to use a point tolling system, because it has none of the data issues of the ticket system, and mis-reads result in less of a loss.  I assume that's why the Mass Pike switched away from the ticket system and why the Pennsylvania Turnpike plans to follow a similar model.

EDITS: I found some flaws in my example to illustrate the potential flaw in the Turner/Will Rogers hybrid system, so I had to correct those.
"I was raised by a cup of coffee." - Strong Bad imitating Homsar

Disclaimer: Views I express are my own and don't reflect any employer or associated entity.

Scott5114

Good observation. That said, there appear to be a pair of gantries at the western terminus of the Turner Turnpike that appear to have Pikepass equipment on them, so it's possible that Pikepass is already using a ticket-style model to calculate Pikepass charges.
uncontrollable freak sardine salad chef

Ned Weasel

Quote from: Bobby5280 on February 10, 2021, 07:34:15 PM
The last overhead PikePass readers for I-44 Eastbound on the Turner Turnpike are under the BGS gantry for the Creek Turnpike and exit for OK-66. There aren't any more overhead PikePass readers after that going into Tulsa. After the Creek Turnpike exit ramp the next one is for S 49th W Avenue.
https://www.google.com/maps/@36.0198264,-96.0959218,3a,75y,29.2h,100.84t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1shFUq8k9J_TTYe5J79KgbxA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

I never noticed because I kept focusing on every conceivable way to make that sign assembly look decent!
"I was raised by a cup of coffee." - Strong Bad imitating Homsar

Disclaimer: Views I express are my own and don't reflect any employer or associated entity.

tq-07fan

#21
So will I still be able to pay cash if I drive the Muskogee Turnpike in April?

The only real problem I find for cashless tolling is passing through an area with a rental car or on a one off trip.

Jim

Bobby5280

#22
Quote from: stridentweaselI never noticed because I kept focusing on every conceivable way to make that sign assembly look decent!

Yeah, that is one really lousy sign layout. And changing the typeface from Clearview to Series Gothic did absolutely nothing to help either. It takes a whole lot more than a mere choice of typeface to create a decent sign layout. The biggest problem was OTA's choice to cram this overly complicated message onto three panels way too small to hold their messages and then cram all three onto one single gantry. The various elements in the layout are all disorganized. Multiple legends are set in different letter sizes and there is no harmony between the lines of copy on the panels. They don't line up at all. It's all staggered. The OK-364 route markers look added after the fact. The lack of white space surrounding those route markers is just embarrassing. The letter spacing on the middle panel is highly suspect: the exit tab is too small for its lettering, the Creek Turnpike lettering is spaced too tight, the "Joplin" lettering looks more like "Jopl in," the "east" cardinal direction is all caps while the "East" on the left panel has a large capital. The right panel, the OK-66 exit sign for Sapulpa, is the only one whose layout looks worth a damn.

Basically this is the OTA doing sign work on the cheap. If they had used bigger sign panels and split this word salad on two different sign gantries they might have had something more effective. But that costs more money. They may have "traffic engineers" supervising the sign work, but this kind of layout quality is what I would expect from a fly-by-night banner printing shop.

BTW, in the opposing Westbound lanes of I-44 there is a bare gantry with PikePass readers. That's effectively the exit barrier toll for drivers on the Creek Turnpike entering WB I-44 and the entry barrier for the Turner Turnpike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@36.0196619,-96.0960301,3a,75y,17.31h,97.18t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sMaafco9iXNYfkThxMHa3Rg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

Scott5114

#23
Part of the problem is that entire left panel doesn't need to exist. "Joplin" is a more than sufficient control city for OK 364. If you must sign Jenks and Broken Arrow, the way to do it is on a ground mounted sign that says "Jenks/Broken Arrow/Exit 218B".

Quote from: Bobby5280 on February 11, 2021, 09:25:44 PM
BTW, in the opposing Westbound lanes of I-44 there is a bare gantry with PikePass readers. That's effectively the exit barrier toll for drivers on the Creek Turnpike entering WB I-44 and the entry barrier for the Turner Turnpike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@36.0196619,-96.0960301,3a,75y,17.31h,97.18t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sMaafco9iXNYfkThxMHa3Rg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

That's interesting. At one point it was under the SH-97 bridge (as noted upthread): https://www.google.com/maps/@36.0117495,-96.111559,3a,67.7y,247.22h,86.69t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sUa5WkozkJYvizxvuODVq3g!2e0!5s20111001T000000!7i13312!8i6656 Guess they moved it to its own gantry for some reason.
uncontrollable freak sardine salad chef

bwana39


Quote from: 1Cash is legal tender for all debts.

QuoteThat's not a blanket policy in reality. Retail stores can refuse bills above a certain amount. It's very common for convenience stores to refuse anything larger than a $20 bill.

Several years ago I witnessed a JERK inside a local convenience store angrily chewing out the cashier because she wouldn't take the guy's $100 bill. He was yelling out a lot of "this is legal tender" crap. I was getting sick of this since I just wanted to pay for my soft drink and get out of there. When he started insulting the lady I lost my cool and tore into the guy. I told him he was a coward for yelling at a store employee who was powerless to talk back to him (unless she wanted to get fired). She's not getting paid nearly enough to put up with that $#!+. I told him to stop being such a douchebag and get out a smaller bill, "no one is impressed that you have $100 bills in your wallet!"

Of course we have the other syndrome where people will pay for pack of chewing gum with a credit card. And then there are still people who will write out a paper check at the cash register. I imagine some people try paying for their turnpike tolls with a paper check at the toll booth. All the more reason to have a PikePass.

I do think there is a problem when a retailer will not take larger bills for purchases over half of their value.  I am never going to forget a guy buying $65.00 worth of diesel and there being a row over a fifty.

As to the tolls, they are granting you a license and billing you for the license. You can pay the tolls later using whatever method you choose. You can pay NTTA in cash for the invoice when you get it (you have to return to their store.)  I agree the ones in Houston that if you don't have a tag that you are SOL are pretty egregious.
Let's build what we need as economically as possible.



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