Even as the ability to pay cash at toll booths is eliminated, Florida's Turnpike officials are making it easier for drivers to replenish their SunPass transponders with cash.
Officials on Friday said they have tripled the number of places where drivers can add cash to their accounts or check their balance, and more are coming.
Drivers can pay cash at 3,100 locations statewide, including gas stations, convenience stores, check-cashing stores, wireless dealers and small grocery stores.
The turnpike is contracting with two payment processing companies to provide cash services, BlackStone and epay, a division of Euronet Worldwide Inc.
BlackStone provides touch-screen terminals at which customers can add money to their accounts. Customers also can pay utility bills at the terminals.
Both companies provide services in stores where customers can pay a cashier.
In the past, turnpike officials encouraged customers to replenish SunPass with a bank account or credit card. But some people choose to deal only in cash, said Sonyha Rodriguez-Miller, a turnpike spokeswoman.
You'll need your transponder number whether you pay at a terminal or a cashier. The number is on the back of portable transponders or on the front of the sticker tags.
The transaction includes a $1.50 "convenience fee," similar to what consumers pay when they use an ATM belonging to another bank. There is no fee to check your balance.
On February 19, the turnpike will eliminate all cash collection on the Homestead Extension. Drivers will pay tolls either with SunPass or be billed via their license plate registration. Photos of plates will be taken as cars cruise through toll plazas.
"It is important that we provide as many places as we can for our customers to reload their SunPass accounts," said Jennifer Olson, the turnpike's deputy executive director.