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August 29, 2018

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How will increased tolling affect fleet stability?

By Anna Connell, PacLease Marketing Program Development Manager

If you’re reading the trade journals – even newspapers – you’re no doubt noticing articles about the infrastructure. What will happen? And, what about toll roads -- will they be privatized? What does this mean for the transportation industry?

The truth is, toll roads have been impacting fleets as long as we can remember. If you travel through multiple states (especially East Coast states, Texas and California) then you know all too well the price of tolling. Florida alone has 657 miles of toll roads. New York? 574 miles. Tolling on the state and local level has been in place for years, while the toll revenue translation to road improvements has been slow. Take the 2007 Act 44 Plan that was amended by Act 89 in 2013, for the Pennsylvania Turnpike, or the recent truck tolling portion of Rhode Island’s “RhodeWorks” program; both with initial objectives to generate funding for infrastructure improvements. 

Now to be clear, this is not an article to discuss tolling regulations and where the funding is allocated. (That could be a big chapter for another day.) This article is to discuss the fact that while localities determine how to fund much-needed infrastructure improvements, fleet owners often can’t avoid the nearly 6000 miles of major toll roadways in the US; craters and all. It’s the cost of doing business.

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For fleets, every part of the truck from tires, to suspension, to the driver has an impact on the company’s operating cost. Consider the cost of a truck running a bi-weekly route over pothole-laden roadways. What happens to the truck, the tires, the suspension? Who pays the repairs? What happens to driver retention for someone whose office is their cab and is subject to the conditions of the roads daily? What happens if the company has to replace that driver in the midst of a driver shortage?    

These are valid everyday questions a fleet owner is faced with. Now throw into the mix the additional cost of toll payments, potential late fees and violations from various tolling authorities. Consider this little known fact: on average, 3% of all electronic tolls are misreads. Does a fleet owner add toll disputing to their to-do list or take it as a loss?  More so, do they even realize there was a misread?

In the absence of a proper toll management structure, fleets are spending a lot of time on toll management. In 2017 however, PacLease began changing the tide on this when through partnership with Bestpass, we launched the PacToll Program. PacToll was the first toll management program in truck fleet rental and leasing industry – something we’re pretty proud of. The goal was to assist our lease and rental franchises by limiting the administrative burden associated with toll processing and the amount of funds spent on violations. By partnering with Bestpass, the nation’s leading toll management system for commercial fleets, we were able to develop a lease solution that covers every major toll artery in the US.

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Through a single transponder system, located in the truck, the PacToll Program compiles all of the toll activity in an online database, which is then applied to our customer’s lease invoice.

The best part? Customers are able to alleviate potentially thousands of dollars a year in late fees and administrative headaches. The service has been rolled out to several of our leasing locations and rental fleet.

You might ask….Why would it make a difference if the organization were lease and rental or not? Great question. Without PacToll, customers renting trucks won’t see the toll charge when they return and pay for their rental unit. That means, just like with a rental car company, you’d receive a secondary bill once the rental company got its bill. With PacToll, the charge comes across fast, and it’s included in your final bill when you return your rental truck. Easy, and no surprise toll fees months later. That means you can get back to managing those every day questions and not add toll management into the mix.

PacLease, with its PacToll program, set a market trend that was soon followed by others in the truck rental and leasing industry. What we started makes a lot of sense. Get in touch with us if you’re interested in learning more about the PacToll program.

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