Commuters should "love" a new electronic toll collection service being planned for the Kansas Turnpike, says a turnpike official.
If you drive the Kansas Turnpike much, you know the hassle -- trying to make sure you have enough pocket change to pay the toll.
Thanks to some electronic wizardry, you'll be able to forgo fumbling for nickels and dimes beginning in May.
That's the tentative start date for the turnpike to begin using an electronic toll collection system, says R.D. Fogo, the KTA's chief engineer-manager.
"Commuters will love it and so will commercial users," Fogo said. "Out-of-state people will go through the standard lane. If you have people going from Lawrence to Topeka or Lawrence to Bonner Springs, it's great because they can just sail right through."
Here's how it works: Drivers who want to use the new system, called K-TAG, can prepay their tolls, at least $40. They'll be given a small transponder to put on their windshields behind their rear view mirrors. Every time they drive through an electronic gate getting on or off the turnpike, the collecting equipment will deduct the correct toll automatically from their prepaid account.
Fogo said one of the new K-TAG gates was being tested on the turnpike exit at Kansas Highway 96 in Wichita.
The main advantage of the system is that drivers won't have to stop and get tickets or pay collectors -- they'll go through the gate at 20 miles an hour, he said.
Fogo said those using the system would be charged a $1 per month administration fee. However, a 10 percent discount off the regular fare will be given to people who use the system.
"We're trying to pass our savings on to you. We don't have to pay for a collector out there at the gates," Fogo said.
- Will you use the K-TAG system to pay your turnpike tolls? Answer the J-W Access question on page 2B.
- On the Road Warriors: Have any questions/concerns/peeves related to streets or traffic? Call the J-W Access line at 865-5000, enter category 7458 and leave a brief message.