I received a letter in the mail from the NYS Thruway Authority reminding me to renew my Thruway Annual Permit. Since I’m on the Thruway between Rochester and Buffalo commuting to work, the Annual Permit Plan lets me drive between the Pembroke (48A) and I-490 Leroy (47) exits for free. Without an E-ZPass, one way on that section of Thruway would cost me $1.10 cash, round trip $2.20. The E-ZPass gives me a small discount of 5 cents on a one way stint. (NYS Thruway toll schedule, with and without E-ZPass). With the Annual plan I save the entire $2.20 cost since the annual fee covers the toll for the first 30 miles or less per trip. The Annual plan costs $88 for the entire year (the cost is pro-rated if you sign up later in the year) or a monthly cost of $7.
E-ZPass is an electronic toll collection (ETC) system that allows you to prepay your tolls, eliminating the need to stop at the toll plaza. When traveling during peak times, having the ability to bypass the lines of toll collectors can be quite satisfying. When you register for an E-ZPass, you will need to sign up to have payments taken directly from a bank account or you can have your credit card charged. You will receive a toll tag which you place inside your car. The toll tag is read by equipment at the toll booths which debits the toll amount from your account.
E-ZPass works outside of NY state as well, It can be used on roads in a lot of the northeastern states (see pic below). When we took our summer vacation to Washington DC and Philadelphia this year we were able to use the pass on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and some highways in Maryland.
You will pay a deposit when you receive the tag which is returned to you when you turn the tag in. If you sign up for the pass using a credit card, the deposit fee is waived. There’s really no reason not to get an E-ZPass. It saves time and it saves money and doesn’t really cost anything. And if you travel the Thruway a lot, sign up for the NYS Annual Permit plan and cut your costs even further.