Cashless confusion: O.C. toll roads waive fees for first-time violators

Orange County toll road drivers will be given a grace period to pay if they forget to do so, in light of confusion from a new cashless payment system.

Orange County's transition to making its network of toll roads cashless has now resulted in more than 13,000 violations a day — a staggering figure that has prompted the toll agency to ease penalty fees through the summer.

The Transportation Corridor Agencies began pulling out its tollbooths in early May in favor of a cashless system in which commuters would either use transponders or go online to pay tolls.


But that change appears to have caused confusion with some commuters.

"This rollout was meant to improve the toll road service, not burden the driver," said Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who serves as a toll agency board member.

To ease the transition, the toll agency is waiving a $57.50 penalty fee for first-time violators through Labor Day, as long as the toll is paid within 30 days. Under the cashless system, motorists are suppose to pay their tolls within 48 hours or be hit with a penalty.

Still, Spitzer said he did not believe 30 days is enough time and argued that all toll fines and penalties should be temporarily halted.

Between now and Labor Day, Spitzer said, the Transportation Corridor Agencies should evaluate whether a longer grace period is needed to ensure that drivers understand how the new pay system works.

Since the changeover, about 13,500 violation notices had been sent out daily, agency spokeswoman Lori Olin said. An estimated 250,000 people use the 73, 133, 241 or 261 toll roads each day.

To further aid the transition, additional signs will be installed and messages will be flashed on the changeable freeway information boards, according to the release. Ten additional customer service representatives are also being hired temporarily.

Information about the payment options can be found at

Emily Foxhall writes for Times Community News.

Twitter: @emfoxhall