You may get a headache when Sunpass goes down for a week — but you still have to pay

SunPass sensors at the old toll signs on the Northbound I-95 Express lanes between I-195 and NW 61st Street in 2008.
SunPass sensors at the old toll signs on the Northbound I-95 Express lanes between I-195 and NW 61st Street in 2008. Miami Herald file photo

Traveling Florida's roadways in June?

Of course you are.

You may notice some glitches in paying for toll roads and parking at airports and stadiums if you're a SunPass user.

Florida's statewide SunPass toll system will be down for maintenance from June 5 to June 11, SunPass posted on its website and alerted its customers through emails on Tuesday.

According to SunPass, the system maintenance is the next phase of implementation of the Centralized Customer Service System. The update will consolidate the back-office customer service systems that support Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority.

SunPass spokesman Chad Huff said there are 6.5 million active accounts so that adds to the complexity and scope of the work. Along with the website, the phone and computer systems are getting an overhaul.

During the week-long maintenance period, motorists will still be able to use their SunPass transponders to access toll lanes and these transactions will be billed once the system is back online.

But customers who use SunPass Plus Parking transponders to pay at airports — such as Miami International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Palm Beach International airports — or at stadiums such as Hard Rock in Miami Gardens, will have to find an alternate payment method if you enter a lot prior to the 7 p.m. shutdown on June 5 and want to leave before the system is scheduled to be online again at 9 a.m. June 11.

(There are no major events booked at Hard Rock Stadium in June, so unless you're trying to get a huge jump start on parking for the Aug. 18 Taylor Swift concert — and you can't do that anyway — that's one concern off your plate.)

Orlando International Airport is the exception. SunPass transponders will hold transactions during the maintenance period and submit afterward at the Orlando Airport.

These changes during the maintenance period will require action on the part of some SunPass users.

SunPass email.PNG
SunPass sent out emails to its customers to warn of a system shut-down for maintenance from June 5 to June 11, 2018. SunPass

If you don't use the automatic Easy Pay option to replenish your account via deductions from a credit card and you replenish manually, you'll need to do so before 7 p.m. June 5 to ensure that you have a sufficient balance during the maintenance period if you expect to travel SunPass routes in that week.

Huff said that if drivers dip into negative balances during the week the system is down, "as long as their SunPass account was in the black before the week begins," no additional fees will be charged if the customer "takes care of a negative balance in a timely fashion after the maintenance period ends."

System maintenance will impact all SunPass call centers, walk-in centers, the SunPass website, the Toll-by-Plate website, mobile applications, SunPass Plus parking, cash replenishment kiosks, activation kiosks at Florida welcome centers and invoice and traffic citation payments for SunPass violations.

You also won't be able to purchase a new transponder during the maintenance period from SunPass or at welcome centers or service plazas. You can buy a transponder at several retail outlets, including Publix, Walgreens, CVS, AAA Auto Club South, Navarro Discount Pharmacy and Sedano's Supermarket, but you won't be able to activate the device during the down time.

Account updates and changes will be disabled, too, so you will have to either make your fixes before the maintenance starts or wait until SunPass is back online.

For more details visit the SunPass site.

In February, SunPass frustrated some users when it billed their accounts for several charges dating back to October 2017. SunPass blamed Miami-Dade Expressway Authority for not posting charges when they occurred.

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