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Author Topic: Central Florida Tolls  (Read 4903 times)

tidecat

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Central Florida Tolls
« on: February 12, 2016, 09:38:17 PM »

I will be flying to MCO later this month and will be renting a car from National.  Any advice on how to best handle the Toll Roads? My stay in Orlando shouldn't require me to get on I-4 or the Florida's Turnpike to get around town, although I also have side trips to Dade City and one to Williston/Ocala during that week.

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2016, 01:12:01 AM »


:confused:
I will be flying to MCO later this month and will be renting a car from National.  Any advice on how to best handle the Toll Roads? My stay in Orlando shouldn't require me to get on I-4 or the Florida's Turnpike to get around town, although I also have side trips to Dade City and one to Williston/Ocala during that week.

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jeffandnicole

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2016, 01:55:11 AM »

Simply don't get on the toll roads. If using a GPS, set it to "Avoid Tolls" if the option is available.
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lordsutch

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2016, 02:16:20 AM »

It's a real slog to get to Ocala avoiding the Turnpike though - US 441 is almost continuously developed all the way to SR 44 to I-75, which would be the logical place to cut over.

The good news is the Turnpike not AET yet so you don't need a SunPass, but it might be worth getting one anyway to avoid some of the hassle at toll booths. Just get the windshield (Mini) sticker (you can get one at any of the service plazas or any Publix supermarket) and bring a roll of Scotch tape with you and tape it to the windshield.
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NE2

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2016, 03:39:05 AM »

It's a real slog to get to Ocala avoiding the Turnpike though - US 441 is almost continuously developed all the way to SR 44 to I-75, which would be the logical place to cut over.
A better free route would be SR 50 to US 27. Still janky sprawl all the way to Clermont.

The Goog recommends I-4 to Sanford, then back roads around Eustis and through Weirsdale. Or go all rural through Ocala National Forest (essentially 46-46A-44-19-40).
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roadman65

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2016, 04:12:40 AM »

441 is not that bad from Apopka to Mount Dora, but I would imagine from Mount Dora to Leesburg has gotten real bad like the rest of Central Florida.  I have not been on it since 2008, and a lot can happen in almost 8 years.  Just look at State Road 50, it was a rural road from Oakland to US 27 in the mid 2000's then just five years later it turned in to suburbia with development and strip malls every half mile.

US 441 was even almost there from Leesburg to Tavares back then, so I can imagine it being like all the rest in this area.

The toll roads, no matter how expensive you think they are would be the best way out of Orlando.  Even US 27 & US 441 from Leesburg to Ocala is pretty much developed including The Villages in between.  So its the freeways for sure.
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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2016, 07:32:54 AM »

At FLL, so I assume also at MCO, the rental car companies have at least in the past been happy to equip your car with SunPass.  It sounds like a great idea until you read more carefully.  I don't remember the specifics, but on top of actual tolls incurred, they wanted to charge a flat fee to have the device at all, plus a daily fee, even for days you don't use any toll roads.  I seem to recall it would have cost something like $10+ per day on top of the actual tolls.  It's been a few years since I rented a car down there now, so it's possible the situation has improved or worsened.
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US 41

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2016, 11:19:56 AM »

I have no idea in what order you will be going to Dade City and Ocala, but heading away from the airport you will probably want to go south on SR 527A and then get on 530 southwest to US 192 no matter which city you go to. Then head west on 192. This will allow you to completely bypass Orlando.

Once you are on westbound US 192 you can take it all the way to US 27 and then take US 27 north to Ocala.

If you are going to Dade City first then take US 192 west to I-4, take I-4 west to US 98, then head northwest on US 98 to Dade City. FYI I-4 is a toll free interstate.

From Dade City to Ocala (or vice versa) you could take I-75 as it is also a toll free interstate. US 301 also connects the two towns, but I imagine it is much slower.
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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2016, 11:36:44 AM »

You can get around Orlando without paying tolls, but it does involve a lot of knowledge of the local arterial system to do it effectively. When I lived in Orlando, I often avoided I-4 and SR 408 and took surface roads and arterials to get to work in Lake Mary. It took several days of driving to get a route down. When the office moved to DeLand, I had to spend a week figuring out the best route to get there while avoiding the slugfest along Interstate 4.

You will probably run into difficulty devising an effective route on short notice, so just prepare to allot extra time to your drive until you get used to the area roads.

NE2

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2016, 11:53:47 AM »

I have no idea in what order you will be going to Dade City and Ocala, but heading away from the airport you will probably want to go south on SR 527A and then get on 530 southwest to US 192 no matter which city you go to. Then head west on 192. This will allow you to completely bypass Orlando.
You've never been here, have you? In addition to those county road numbers not being posted, 192 is one of the main tourist strips in the area.
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Brian556

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2016, 02:59:14 PM »

Mount Dora to Leesburg is not bad at all, I've done it about 4 times recently.

I personally use SR 44 to get from I-75 over to Leesburg, to avoid the turnpike. Works well.

Other Orlando Advice:
Avoid Orange Blossom TR S of SR 50. It is badly congested and signal timing is horrible. Use the parallel John Young Pkwy instead.

Orlando has way more arterial street intersection congestion at all hours of the day that other urban areas.
Be aware of that.

Florida does not sign double turns. This can be hazardous.
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tidecat

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2016, 04:39:29 PM »


At FLL, so I assume also at MCO, the rental car companies have at least in the past been happy to equip your car with SunPass.  It sounds like a great idea until you read more carefully.  I don't remember the specifics, but on top of actual tolls incurred, they wanted to charge a flat fee to have the device at all, plus a daily fee, even for days you don't use any toll roads.  I seem to recall it would have cost something like $10+ per day on top of the actual tolls.  It's been a few years since I rented a car down there now, so it's possible the situation has improved or worsened.
I did find some information on the SunPass site that National apparently is $3.95 per day.
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tidecat

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2016, 04:44:38 PM »


I have no idea in what order you will be going to Dade City and Ocala, but heading away from the airport you will probably want to go south on SR 527A and then get on 530 southwest to US 192 no matter which city you go to. Then head west on 192. This will allow you to completely bypass Orlando.

Once you are on westbound US 192 you can take it all the way to US 27 and then take US 27 north to Ocala.

If you are going to Dade City first then take US 192 west to I-4, take I-4 west to US 98, then head northwest on US 98 to Dade City. FYI I-4 is a toll free interstate.

From Dade City to Ocala (or vice versa) you could take I-75 as it is also a toll free interstate. US 301 also connects the two towns, but I imagine it is much slower.
Dade City and Williston/Ocala will probably be on separate days - Dade City will be either Thursday or Friday, and Williston/Ocala will be on a Saturday. Two Tails Ranch is only about 30 minutes from Florida Horse Park, so I will try to keep those together.
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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2016, 08:40:54 PM »


At FLL, so I assume also at MCO, the rental car companies have at least in the past been happy to equip your car with SunPass.  It sounds like a great idea until you read more carefully.  I don't remember the specifics, but on top of actual tolls incurred, they wanted to charge a flat fee to have the device at all, plus a daily fee, even for days you don't use any toll roads.  I seem to recall it would have cost something like $10+ per day on top of the actual tolls.  It's been a few years since I rented a car down there now, so it's possible the situation has improved or worsened.
I did find some information on the SunPass site that National apparently is $3.95 per day.

Waste of money. The SunPass Mini costs $5 and, has been noted above, can be affixed using scotch tape. They claim that won't work. They're wrong. Mine's been affixed with scotch tape since June 2011 and it still works just fine (confirmed by seeing the light come on through various toll plazas on our most recent trip in December).

The Orlando-area toll roads are a good option to have available to you even if you don't plan to use them. Often they can be a good way to get around traffic jams and the like.
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tidecat

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2016, 02:43:02 PM »

Thanks, I'll probably just wind up hitting Publix after leaving MCO, especially since there's one not too far from my hotel.  Would the transponder be available to use immediately upon purchase?
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1995hoo

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2016, 02:55:03 PM »

Thanks, I'll probably just wind up hitting Publix after leaving MCO, especially since there's one not too far from my hotel.  Would the transponder be available to use immediately upon purchase?

I assume so, but I don't know since I ordered mine online and had it mailed to me at home in Virginia about two weeks before we planned to go to Florida, so I had some lag time before using it. I'm sure one of the Floridians could weigh in, though.

One tip: Once you get the SunPass Mini, and before you drive anywhere, it's probably worth setting up an online account and registering the device and then listing the license-plate number of your rental car. Then log in and remove the rental car immediately when you return it. The reason for doing this is that if for whatever reason the device isn't read properly at a toll facility or isn't active immediately upon your purchasing it, they'd have the plate number tied to the account and could bill the appropriate SunPass account. That's also why it's so important to remove the car from the account immediately when you return it, of course!
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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2016, 02:55:22 PM »

Thanks, I'll probably just wind up hitting Publix after leaving MCO, especially since there's one not too far from my hotel.  Would the transponder be available to use immediately upon purchase?
Yes.. You can add $to the via prepaid card.. No need to link to acct
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lordsutch

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2016, 10:46:43 PM »

I believe you can set effective dates for a particular car tag on the Sunpass site, which will save you the need to immediately log on to the site upon returning the car.
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tidecat

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2016, 05:28:51 PM »

I actually would up not getting a SunPass-mainly because the traffic in Kissimmee the first evening I was there was so rotten, I lost a lot of time-but the only trip I had planned that required a toll road was the one from Orlando to Williston.  I did accidentally get on SR 408 once, but I had planned for it by having a roll of quarters with me, so it was just $1.00 to get on and then make it back to I-4.  I wound up spending all of $8.50 in tolls, $7.50 of which was on Florida's Turnpike.

The Turnpike from Orlando to I-75 was in excellent condition, although I'm not too crazy about the design of the interchange with I-4 with how little forewarning you get about needing to come to a stop.
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flaroads

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Re: Central Florida Tolls
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2016, 09:10:49 AM »

The Turnpike from Orlando to I-75 was in excellent condition, although I'm not too crazy about the design of the interchange with I-4 with how little forewarning you get about needing to come to a stop.

Yep, those long lines of traffic are just the symptom of the original design of that interchange. First off, the placement of the toll plaza on the ramp from southbound on the Turnpike to I-4 is too close to the gore point (in my opinion) to handle drivers needing to pay with cash or coin. The Sunpass lane isn't much better as drivers have to slow to 25mph through the collection point. When they replaced the bridges at the Turnpike side of the interchange years ago they should have extended the ramp and separated it from the mainline well in advance of the plaza. Though it still would back up, it wouldn't bleed onto the mainline. The other problem is with that connection piece between the two trumpets. You get a lot of traffic weaving and that sometimes causes hiccups. Unfortunately there is no easy fix for that.
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