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I've read of some difficulty with the Sun Pass transponders (poor low battery indicator, etc) which is supposed to be less of a problem with the mini? Anyone used the mini yet? Pros/cons?
There is nothing like being able to zip through the tolls while everyone else without a Pass is waiting in line to pay......especially when it is someone who is going slower and slower......just to see how long the lines will get before they send someone out to help......Up here in good old NY we have EZ-Pass....without it...you can easily wait in line for 30 plus minutes to pay the toll...on the weekends when everyone is heading home...the wait can be 1 - 2 hours or more.......so forget the change
thanks for the info. Another local had told me horror stories of people being billed for charged they didn't actually make (toll booths they didn't drive thru) but the only thing I could find in an online search of newspapers was charges when the battery was low, or when people changed license plates but didn't update their info, or when their sunpass account just had no $ left in it. Whew! One less thing to worry about.
As an aside... I did notice when going through a toll booth in TPA that the guy in the car in front of me just stopped at the booth for a good 5 minutes carrying on a conversation with the attendant. Arghhh! Then there were two interesting traffic occurrences...the guy on his hover-round who thought it was worthy of traffic and proceeded down the right hand lane at about 5 mph and another guy who just came to a complete dead stop in the right had land to carry on a conversation with the person in the car with him, while pointing to some big trucks parked off to the right. LOL! I think navigating TPA will indeed be an interesting experience.
Sunpass Mini vs. Portable Transponder (long explanation)
The Sunpass Mini costs $4.99 (currently it is not being sold anywhere north of Ft. Pierce, FL) When you open up an account w/the new Sunpass Mini and you replenish the minimum of $10.00 to the sticker, you automatically get reimbursted the $4.99. (ex. if you replen $10.00, you'll really have a total of $14.99) The good thing about the Sunpass Mini is that is works like a commercial account and how a commercial account works is that when you replenish funds, the funds become available immidiately and you dont need to wait until 4pm/6am depending on the time of the replenishment. True, you can only use it in ONE vehicle, but c'mon people, it's only $4.99. If you're already an existing Sunpass Account holder with the Portable Transponders, you CANNOT have the Mini Stickers under the same account as your Portable Transponders. The Mini Stickers must be on their own account. Yes, you can activate it thru your ALREADY EXISTING Sunpass PERSONAL ACCOUNT but within 15 mins the system will transfer it onto it's own personal account where the funds become available immidiately (since this is a feature that is not available for a personal account the stickers and the portables cannot be kept in the same account, have I lost anyone yet)
The Sunpass Mini cannot be used on any of the E-pass lanes and it cannot be used at OIA. It can only be used thru lanes were the Sunpass Logo is visible. So, if you're like me and live in Orlando and are faced with numerous E-pass lanes, just know that the Mini Sticker cannot be used thru those lanes yet because the system has not yet been updated for the Mini Sticker to register thru an E-pass lane (This is the reason why this is only available in South Florida for the moment, the FDOT has decided to start testing it out in South Florida first)
The Mini Sticker does not have a battery, it does not light up and it does not beep. This is the reason why AUTOMATIC REPLENISHMENT is highly recommended. Unless you keep really good track of the tolls you go thru, you're never really going to know when you've reached a low balance. And, to avoid any possible toll violations for using the Mini Sticker with a negative balance, it is recommended that you leave your credit card on file so that it can replenish for you when you drop to a low balance. The good thing about the Mini's is that the low balance threshold is $5.00, as oppose to the portable's which is $10.00. This means that you can set your Mini to replenish at any amount you like when it drops to $5 or below.
The Mini CANNOT be used in motorcycles, even on those that have a windshield. I know that this is not specified on the packaging and the company is very well aware of that, thats why it's the reps responsability to mention this to customer's if they call to activate it. The sticker is meant to be stuck on a GLASS WINDSHIELD because the windshield serves as the antenna. It will not register on acrylic or plexi-glass windshields. So sorry motorcycle-owners, the Mini will not benefit you.
Also, with the Mini, you CANNOT go thru the Sunpass/Cash lanes. You can only go thru the NON-STOP Sunpass lane (the one where theres no attendant, no toll basket) If you try going thru a Sunpass/Cash lane the poll will not rise and the attendant will charge you the toll amount.
Personally, I'll stick with my portable transponder. It's more convenient. I've had it over a year and with battery changes every 4-6 months like you're supposed to do I've never had a problem with it. Also, by you keeping you vehicle and tag information current on your Sunpass account you can reduce the chances of receiving toll violations. How do I know all this information? I work as a Violation's Specialist for Sunpass and have been doing so for over a year and a half now and I love my job. I hope I've helped you guys out and if anybody has any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I'll be happy to assist you
$100 fine for THEIR equipment not reading properly?
The FDOT issues out violations to account holder's if their tag # is not current on the Sunpass account. If the customer has had a chance of license plate (and the state of FL does issue a new tag every 4-5 years) it is the account holders responsability to call in and update their tag on their sunpass account. It is a prepaid account and with over 3million transponders in circulation it'll be insane to call every customer and tell them to update their tag. That's why the website (sunpass.com) has been modified and it reminds customers to update their tags on their account if they've been issued a new one and to update address with DMV and tag agency.
Having the correct license plate on your account serves as your backup. At Sunpass we are completely aware that yes, the transponders do fail to register sometimes and it is not the customer's fault. But when it fails to register, it takes a picture of your license plate and if we have your correct license plate on file, you can avoid the violation b/c we'll know its an account holder going thru and we'll debit their account accordingly. But, if the tag is not on file, the FDOT processes the Register Owner of the Vehicle (not the driver) as a violator and issues out a toll violation. If your address is not current with the DMV then you'll never receive the document on time and by the time you receive something in the mail it'll be a court appearance because once the document gets filed with the courts, the courts will find you at whatever address you're at. Once the violation is with the court it is out of Sunpass' juridisction and theres nothing that we'll be able to do b/c it is the customers responsibility to keep their account current and up to date.
So, like I always tell my customers: Keep your vehicle, tag information and address current with Sunpass and the DMV and you can avoid the toll violations and the over $100 penalties and points of the Driver's License It's really quite simple... and I'm not just saying that because I work there but because it's true.
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