Got a SunPass? You might want to replenish it soon!

If you have that trusty little gizmo attached to the inside of your windshield that pays your tolls on the Sunshine Skyway as well as the Pinellas Bayway, the Selmon Crosstown Expressway, the Veterans Expressway/Suncoast Parkway and beyond within the great State of Florida called a SunPass, you need to read this blog entry carefully.  Beginning Tuesday, 5 June 2018 at 7 PM and continuing until Monday, 11 June 2018 at 9 AM system maintenance will be conducted which will affect how you access your SunPass account for balance inquiries, replenishments, account updates and more.

The good news is that you can continue to use your SunPass transponder to pay your tolls anytime throughout the SunPass maintenance period.  However, it is very important to make sure that your SunPass is topped off with sufficient funds as well as to make sure that your credit card is up to date if you are a SunPass EasyPay customer.  (SunPass EasyPay is where you keep your credit card number on file with SunPass and when your SunPass account reaches a minimum threshold, say $10.00, then your credit card is billed based on your auto-replenishment amount you set up in your SunPass account.)

Beginning on Tuesday, 5 June 2018 at 7 PM system maintenance will commence in which you will be unable to log in to your SunPass account as the SunPass website will be down throughout the maintenance period.  This also includes the SunPass app you may have on your smartphones as well as the activation kiosks at the Florida Welcome Centers and Florida’s Turnpike Service Plazas.  In other words, you will be able to use your SunPass to pay tolls but you cannot log in to your SunPass account during the maintenance period.

For those of you that use your SunPass to pay for airport parking at Tampa International Airport, during the SunPass maintenance window you will be unable to use your SunPass for airport parking.  The only exception is parking at Orlando International Airport.

If you plan on using any Tampa International Airport parking facility (Short Term Parking Garage, Long Term Parking Garage or Economy Parking Garage) just prior to or during the SunPass maintenance window, you will want to pay for your airport parking by taking a ticket given to you from the ticket dispensing machine as you enter the garage of your choice.  When you exit, take the ticket to one of the self service credit card only lanes to pay with a credit or debit card or to an attended lane to pay with cash.  SunPass will not be available for airport parking at Tampa International Airport during the SunPass maintenance window and your SunPass will not work as such.

If your SunPass account is set up for Easy Pay, if in the event your account runs low and your replenishment amount  is low, there is the possibility that your credit card on file may be charged to cover the tolls multiple times depending on your usage.  To prevent this from happening when the SunPass website comes back online on Monday, 11 June 2018 (and to avoid a potential telephone call from your bank or credit union’s fraud prevention team regarding multiple charges from SunPass), you will want to make sure that you have enough funds in your SunPass account and replenish as needed.

On the other hand, for those of you that don’t have a SunPass and need to get one, do so before Tuesday, 5 June 2018 at 7 PM.  SunPass transponders can be purchased at participating retailers and once you purchase your SunPass transponder, be sure to go online to the SunPass website and set up your account before 7 PM on Tuesday, 5 June 2018.

If you plan on renting a car and using your SunPass transponder to pay your tolls (and side stepping the often times high charges that rental car companies assess for tolls), plan on picking up your rental car and adding it to your SunPass account before the SunPass maintenance window on 5 June 2018.  According to the SunPass alert on the upcoming maintenance window, you will not be able to add a rental car to your account during the maintenance window but you can when the SunPass website comes back online and when you add the rental car the subscription can be back dated for the time period you have the rental car within the SunPass maintenance window.

Once again, SunPass will be conducting system maintenance from 7 PM on Tuesday, 5 June 2018 until 9 AM on Monday, 11 June 2018.  While you will be able to use your SunPass to pay your tolls during the maintenance window, you will not be able to access your SunPass account throughout that period.  The best advice we can give you here at the Interstate 275 Florida Blog is to keep your SunPass funded and replenish as needed to get you by during the SunPass maintenance window.

For more information, you may want to check the SunPass website.

 

SunPass to be accepted outside of Florida soon

The SunPass. That little electronic gadget that attaches inside on your front windshield using the suction cups attached. It’s that little gadget that pays your tolls in Florida!

When you cross the Sunshine Skyway or use any of the toll facilities in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area (such as the Veterans Expressway, Suncoast Parkway, the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway or the Pinellas Bayway) or elsewhere such as the Florida’s Turnpike you probably know by now how SunPass is so convenient: No need to stop for the toll booth, especially when it’s raining as in Florida’s summer thundershowers that happen usually in the afternoon.

For us Floridians that like the convenience of SunPass not only to pay for your tolls and for your airport parking at select airports throughout the state including Tampa International Airport, you are probably asking yourself this same question regarding convenience if you take a trip to any of the 14 states in the northeast United States that have a similar electronic toll collection system called EZ-Pass. Right now if you wanted to pay your tolls electronically using EZ-Pass you had to get an EZ-Pass transponder from one of the member states in the EZ-Pass Consortium (such as EZ-Pass Maryland, for instance) and fund an account similar to your SunPass account back home in Florida.

Good news: Soon you will be able to use your Florida SunPass outside of the State of Florida. According to this article on the coming interoperability of SunPass with other toll agencies outside the Sunshine State I found on ABC Action News (WFTS-TV Channel 28, the ABC affiliate here in Tampa), within months the equipment will be upgraded to allow for interoperability of SunPass with the 14 states in the northeastern United States that belong to EZ-Pass.

What does this mean for you:

You will be able to use your SunPass when you travel on toll roads and bridges that are part of the 14-state EZ-Pass Consortium. Imagine in Maryland, you take a ride on the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore and you pay for your tolls using your trusty SunPass from Florida. Talk about convenience!

What does this mean for our seasonal visitors that come south to the Sunshine State for winter:

You got lots of places to use your EZ-Pass. Soon you will be able to use your EZ-Pass from your home state on the Sunshine Skyway when you come on down to Florida for the winter season. Talk about simplicity – no separate toll account to open and maintain when you come south.

In the meantime, you may want to check the SunPass web site or the EZ-Pass web site for the state that issued your EZ-Pass for updates on when both systems become interoperable. But once SunPass and EZ-Pass are interoperable it will mean convenience for you.

Now there’s another value to your SunPass. Now if only SunPass would achieve interoperability not only with EZ-Pass but with California’s FasTrak as well.