Monthly turnpike E-ZPass fee to be eliminated for some

Frequent users to get a break starting Jan. 1

E-ZPass sign at a toll booth.
E-ZPass sign at a toll booth.

Frequent Ohio Turnpike travelers will be able to use electronic tolling without paying a monthly fee for their E-ZPass accounts starting Jan. 1, the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission announced.

The turnpike now charges a 75-cent monthly service fee for holders of Ohio E-ZPass tags, but the commission decided last month to waive that fee for motorists who use the turnpike for 30 or more one-way trips in a calendar month.

E-ZPass users already pay discounted tolls in Ohio, but Ohio’s monthly tag fee is higher than what most other E-ZPass states charge, with some collecting no service fee at all.

According to a turnpike statement, about 44 percent of passenger-car drivers now pay tolls electronically, the highest since E-ZPass was introduced in Ohio four years ago but still significantly lower than commercial-vehicle use.

Waiving the monthly fee for frequent users should encourage commuters who still pay cash tolls — especially those traveling short distances — to give E-ZPass a second look, said Rick Hodges, the turnpike’s executive director.