Friday, March 27, 2015

Bestpass expands coverage, offers new transponder

Bestpass Inc. has introduced the new Horizon toll transponder that works with almost  all of the non-E-ZPass highway toll authorities in the United States. Now Bestpass users can access most of the toll highways in the U.S. with no more than two transponders -- one for E-ZPass in the Northeast and the new Horizon transponder for the rest.  At the same time, Bestpass announced that toll authorities in Kansas and Florida have become part of the Bestpass system.

Bestpass, which was launched in 2003 and is still owned by the New York Motor Truck Association, provides one-stop shopping for toll payers, offering a single source for billing and customer service, and toll discounts across many diverse authorities. The company is based in Albany, NY.

According to John Andrews, President and CEO of Bestpass, the addition of the Kansas Turnpike and Florida’s Turnpike, including the range of all other SunPass tolled facilities in Florida, will result in a significant increase in toll coverage for Bestpass customers.

The Bestpass solution includes E-ZPass coverage for the group’s 26 toll agencies in 15 states and the new Horizon transponder for the bulk of the authorities outside of the E-ZPass electronic toll collection network. Bestpass also works with toll authorities that use license plate reader systems. Maximizing benefits in those states, Bestpass can provide customers with toll discounts for plate reads that are generally not otherwise available.

According to Andrews, Bestpass is treated like a customer fleet by individual toll authorities, many of which offer volume discounts. For Bestpass, those discounts are easily triggered by the large volume of Bestpass users -- each of whom receives the benefit of a volume discount. That’s the case even for one-truck Bestpass users like OOIDA member John Wieczorek of Perry, Mo. John and his wife Carol run for Mercer Transportation and have been Bestpass customers since 2003.

John was a guest of Bestpass at the press conference announcing the new Horizon transponder.

“We found that the other toll authorities are just out of reach for us. They want you to post a bond or something that just costs too much. Bestpass doesn’t do that,” John said.

John said that besides tolls, Bestpass costs him $4.50 per month, which consists of a $1 service charge plus $3.50 per truck. Toll discounts help offset the cost of the Bestpass.

Andrews explained that a new customer must also open a  Bestpass account for a minimum $250 that tolls will be drawn from. But he pointed out that if a customer’s toll account is close to depletion or depleted, Bestpass will contact the customer first before simply shutting down the account -- as often happens with other toll authorities.

At the press conference, Andrews explained Bestpass plans to have toll discount and management programs in place with 99 percent of all U.S. tolled miles, excluding only a few bridges and HOV lanes (most of which prohibit trucks in any case). Bestpass, he said, is working to bring its services to Oklahoma and Texas before the end of 2015, and anticipates adding coast-to-coast toll coverage in Canada sometime in 2016.

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