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QUESTION FOR ANY FL RESIDENTS

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So we need to rent a car when we go to Key West.  Who knew it would be so complicated.

Seems most of the tolls in S. Fl now are unmanned and you need to purchase a transponder or a Sunpass you put in your window and it reads it as you go past.  

The car rental companies supply these (of course they do) but at a ridiculous charge to you.  This seems like another scam by car rental companies.   There is tons of info online about this whole thing.  you can rent a car for as cheap as $150 a week but then you pay $19.99 - $36.99 a day for the transponder whether you are going through tolls or not.  The only tolls we hit are through the Miami area and they come to around $6 each way.  The more expensive car companies like Enterprise charge only for the tolls used and around $5 a day to rent the transponder BUT the cost of their cars is over $500 for the week.  

Its all very confusing.  Apparently you can buy your own Sunpass but you have to find a Publix or CVS when you leave the airport to do this and then some of them are not activated for 24 hours so you can't use immediately.  WTH.  

There is a no-toll route down to the highway that goes to the Keys but is longer and complicated and if you end up on "express lanes" in Miami you are charged also.

So if you live in FL or visit frequently and can offer any advice I'd appreciate it.  

by on Jan. 2, 2018 at 6:58 AM
Replies (11-17):
mnm1994
by on Jan. 2, 2018 at 11:54 PM

Buy the transponder at Publix or CVS and then use the non toll roads until it’s activated. The rental place is charging way too much

Kimmybabe
by Silver Member on Jan. 3, 2018 at 12:50 AM
We don't live there but we have been down there to Miami and Orlando the past three Decembers and staying off the toll roads is not all that difficult to do.

Quoting mnm1994:

Buy the transponder at Publix or CVS and then use the non toll roads until it’s activated. The rental place is charging way too much

annie-durham
by Silver Member on Jan. 3, 2018 at 8:05 AM

Well if its not activated for 24 hours that wouldn't work because we leave the airport and head immediately to Key West.  The tolls are right around the airport.

Quoting mnm1994:

Buy the transponder at Publix or CVS and then use the non toll roads until it’s activated. The rental place is charging way too much


annie-durham
by Silver Member on Jan. 3, 2018 at 8:07 AM

Yes you can stay off the toll roads, we've done it in Orlando as well.  Driving to the Keys though it adds about an hour to your trip if you take non-toll roads and they are much busier too.  Its already a 4 hour drive down after a 3 hour flight so I don't think we want to add time to our trip.  Not to mention the potential for getting lost since we've never driven this route before.  

Quoting Kimmybabe: We don't live there but we have been down there to Miami and Orlando the past three Decembers and staying off the toll roads is not all that difficult to do.
Quoting mnm1994:

Buy the transponder at Publix or CVS and then use the non toll roads until it’s activated. The rental place is charging way too much


mnm1994
by on Jan. 3, 2018 at 8:20 AM

Well, that’s a bummer :(

I hope they can help you when you call them. Good luck. Have a good trip :)

Quoting annie-durham:

Well if its not activated for 24 hours that wouldn't work because we leave the airport and head immediately to Key West.  The tolls are right around the airport.

Quoting mnm1994:

Buy the transponder at Publix or CVS and then use the non toll roads until it’s activated. The rental place is charging way too much


jabs54
by Jeanine on Jan. 4, 2018 at 10:57 PM

Wow.  I had no idea.  

annie-durham
by Silver Member on Jan. 5, 2018 at 8:14 AM

Most people don't.  Can you imagine arriving from Germany or somewhere and speaking very little english and having to deal with this.  Or worse not being told anything and then getting a huge bill on your credit card when you get back. 

I rented a car yesterday from Payless it was $115 for the week and from what I can figure out online they have a "decent" sunpass package.  they charge $2.95 a day rental of the transponder but its capped at $14.95 for 30 days.  Plus the tolls whatever they come to.  And I think they are about $5 each way.  

I talked it over with my husband and he said just do the easiest and figure the cost into the cost of the trip.  so total cost of the pass/tolls should be around $24.95 versus $15 if I bought one myself and tried to activate it.  I am still going to call Payless and make sure I have my info correct.  

Quoting jabs54:

Wow.  I had no idea.  


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