OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority announced Tuesday that PlatePay price increases are on the way for state turnpikes as they start implementing the system to the eastern parts of the state.
With the increase, all of Oklahoma’s turnpikes are going to be on the system by the end of 2024.
While some drivers may not be too happy with the increase, the OTA said it’s in everyone’s best interest.
“The traveling public do not have to have the changing speeds, slowing down to pull over, pay the toll entering back at highway speeds,” Lisa Shearer-Salim said, a spokeswoman for the OTA.
The change only applies to non-Pikepass account holders.
Instead of paying at the booth, the PlatePay system reads your tag as you go through the toll and sends you a bill later on.
“There is administrative cost of having to read those license plates, work with the DMV to look up who the registered owner of the vehicle is, create the invoice, and mail those invoices out,” Shearer-Salim said.
With the change, drivers will have to fork over nearly twice the dough to get where they need to go.
Currently, someone driving a two-axle vehicle pays $5 to drive from Oklahoma City to Tulsa on the Turner Turnpike. For the same vehicle, that is now jumping to $8.75 for PlatePay.
The announcement upset some drivers.
Several drivers jumped into the comments section of KFOR’s Facebook post on the story. One called it a rip off, another said they’ll take other routes, and some even called it a cash grab.
“They can become a Pikepass account holder, which about 80 percent of the people using the Turner, for example, are Pikepass holders,” Salim said.
Some, however, showed excitement about the change saying, “I’m glad all of you will be taking old Route 66, it will be much more enjoyable driving 80 mph without you.”
The rates will stay the same for Pikepass holders. Salim said the change, while frustrating to some, is necessary.
“We cannot underestimate the safety that this is going to provide,” she said.
The OTA’s next meeting is set for July 11 at 10 a.m.
Again, the system isn’t expected to be implemented all over until the end of 2024.