Monday, 1 August 2011

Recovering tolls from rental cars

Rental cars and toll have been a problem in locations with frequent use of electronic free flow tolls. It has been an issue in Australia with people renting cars but being unaware of how to pay for toll roads, especially when they may drive the road and find no toll booth. Some forget, and so the toll becomes a violation which, like other traffic violations (e.g. speeding), gets passed onto the credit card holder for the booking. For those renting, this can be an expensive nuisance because it is typically much higher than the toll.

Hertz Australia has announced that it has introduced a toll payment service to be included in rental agreements, allowing motorists to pre-register to pay automatically for tolls on any of Sydney’s toll roads. It is called Roam Express Rental e-Pass.

There is an activation fee of A$2.75 (US$3.02) for the first toll road, plus the toll and a A$0.75 fee for each toll point (which is called the “video matching fee”). If there is no toll road used, there is no charge. In essence, it saves the customer time in paying the toll directly, although it does not save money compared to doing so. The key for customers is saving money from penalty charges.

Given the number of times I have been asked the question “what about rental cars” in the context of congestion charging or other forms of road pricing, it is good to see that the market can easily come up with an answer.

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