Mail 'em out, mail 'em back transponder rental offered by HTA for car rental through Travelocity

February 17, 2009
By Peter Samuel

Highway Toll Administration LLC (HTA) is offering motorists who rent cars in the E-ZPass IAG area through Travelocity a transponder rental by mail. Modeled on the Netflix DVD rental program transponders and called TravelPass if the car renter books a car through Trevelocity and chooses an "Add a Toll Device" option they will be mailed a transponder branded TravelPass along with installation instructions and a self-addressed postage-paid bag for its return.

When you click on the "Add A Toll Tag" option on the Travelocity site it takes you to the transponder rental procedure:

TravelPass is initially on offer in the E-ZPass IAG area which includes the northeast, the midwest and the mid-Atlantic states, where E-ZPass, I-PASS, i-Zoom, and FAST LANE electronic toll transponders are in use.

It will be on offer to users of all US car-rental agencies, including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Payless Car Rental and Thrifty.

The charge of $1.99/day plus tolls will be payable by credit/debit card as registered during the car rental booking process.

The mailed and rented transponder is an alternative to transponders installed in some fleets of rental cars which appear as a slide-out in an RF-blocking container.

The slide-out RF-block container allows motorists to pay cash, bring along their own transponder, use the HTA rented transponder, or use the transponder fitted to some rental car fleets by PlatePass.

HTA and PlatePass who compete to provide electronic tolling to rental car companies are in litigation over patent rights to the RF-blocking containers.

Pulling back from installation of transponders?

We asked HTA president David Centner if HTA was pulling back on its program of installing transponders in rental car fleets.

He emailed: "TravelPass does not represent a pullback from installing transponders in rental car fleets. Our vision remains to have all rental vehicles enabled for electronic toll collection. Our services encompass both transponder-based and plate-based tolling programs, not just transponders.

"This program will primarily benefit customers renting a car through Travelocity who select a rental agency that doesn't currently supply transponders in its rental fleets, or one of the providers who have established relationships with HTA, but don't yet have 100% coverage of their fleets."

TOLLROADSnews 2009-02-17 ADDITIONS 14:30, 15:40

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