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What are the Different Types of Toll Charges?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

A toll is where fees are paid in exchange for access along a certain route. This payable access route may be a stretch of highway or a bridge. In many cases, the toll charges are not equal for everyone. They are determined based upon the type of vehicle that needs to pass.

There are several reasons that toll charges are instituted. It some cases it is done to relieve congestion on a route. For commuters, toll charges can become a substantial expense. When roads are crowded and toll fees are charged on routes that were once free, a certain number of people are often motivated to use alternate routes or to car pool. These fees can also be charged on new routes to help prevent the likelihood they will become congested.

Tolls are commonly paid for passage on some roadways.
Tolls are commonly paid for passage on some roadways.

Toll charges may be implemented when it is apparent that new routes will benefit drivers but when the money to complete such projects is not available. A state, local, or federal government can cover the costs of construction this way. In some cases, toll charges are only assessed for a certain period. If a bridge needs major repair, there may be a plan outlined that employs the resources of those who use the bridge to help to pay for the work.

It is also possible that toll fees are collected because a road or bridge is private. Most major routes are government owned. There are however, roads and bridges that are not owned or maintained by the government. Allowing the public to access them without payment could prove to be a heavy financial burden if fees are not collected.

When toll charges are collected, they normally vary based upon the vehicle type. Many of these charges are based upon the number of axles a vehicle has. More axles usually involve higher costs. This means that motorcycles tend to pay the cheapest toll charges and tractors hauling multiple trailers tend to pay the highest charges.

Most tolls do not accept credits cards. Many accept cash, electronic payments, or both. When cash is accepted, there are often workers in the toll booths who handle these transactions. Sometimes there are only coin counters where drivers toss coins into a device that counts the money and permits them entry.

Electronically paying toll charges is a means of convenience. This usually involves attaching an electronic device to the vehicle, which is linked to a pre-paid account. This device allows drivers to pay a lump sum in advance. When they approach a toll booth, there are special lanes designated for them in which their devices are identified, the appropriate charges are deducted from their accounts, and they are permitted entry to the toll route. This usually happens without the vehicles having to stop.

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    • Tolls are commonly paid for passage on some roadways.
      By: Jaren Wicklund
      Tolls are commonly paid for passage on some roadways.