No more digging through change to pay turnpike tolls in Green Country.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is switching to a cashless system.
“Over the next four to five years, we will start converting all the turnpikes, including the Creek Turnpike in Tulsa, Will Rogers, Muskogee Turnpikes to cashless," Jack Damrill, spokesperson for OTA, said.
The John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City is the first metro highway scheduled to go cashless. OTA's new "PlatePay" system hits the Creek Turnpike in Tulsa, next spring.
“Any time that you take a stopping point out, which is what a cash collection is, it’s going to increase safety," Damrill said.
Damrill said daily wrecks are caused by drivers exiting to the toll plazas and merging back on to the turnpike. Removing the conventional cash tolls reduces the risk and frees up traffic.
OTA already implemented a PlatePay camera at the Peoria-Elm interchange in Jenks, Oklahoma. Damrill said accidents there are down, but toll rates are up.
The PlatePay system takes a picture of the vehicle's license plate and sends an invoice to the registered vehicle owner. The cost, on average, is 75 percent higher than the current cash amount.
“You’re mailing out invoices, you’re looking at images on the backside of it and things like that so there is an increase in cost," Damrill said.
Damrill said he does not believe the added cost will deter drivers from the turnpike. He said out-of-state travelers and Green Country commuters who do not drive with a PIKEPASS can take the turnpikes at a price lower than the PlatePay toll.
“They’re going to get a significant discount off of that rate in order to make their travel less expensive," Damrill said.
Discounts can be rewarded by paying early online or through the app that OTA is developing for launch, next year.
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