PrePass and E-ZPass have similar names and both offer electronic tolling services using transponders. However, the two services are very different. E-ZPass is a group of toll authorities operating primarily in the Midwest and northeastern United States. PrePass offers many services, including PrePass Plus that provides electronic toll payment services in the E-ZPass network as well as many other tolling networks throughout the continental United States.
In addition to its commercial truck weigh station bypass program, PrePass offers PrePass Plus, which allows carriers to pay tolls using a single PrePass device. The PrePass Plus program provides toll payment services and one consolidated billing statement covering multiple tolling authorities, including E-ZPass, SunPass, K-Tag, PikePass, TxTag and FasTrak networks. This way, customers do not need multiple transponders or have to deal with bills from each tolling authority. PrePass pays each authority individually and provides customers with one bill.
PrePass also differs from E-ZPass when it comes to how customers pay for tolls. With E-ZPass, customers have to pay up front by establishing an E-ZPass account representing one-and-a-half times a customer’s average monthly usage. For example, if a trucking company is spending an average of $1,000 per month on tolls with E-ZPass, it has to have $1,500 in the account at all times. As the company uses these funds, they have to refresh their account with additional funds.
Conversely, with the PrePass Plus program, carriers simply establish a surety bond or make an escrow deposit, plus pay a nominal monthly fee based on fleet size and the rest is billed after the toll charges are processed.
Another important difference between PrePass and E-ZPass is what happens when there are disputes over tolls. One of the biggest advantages of the PrePass Plus program is that carriers have a one-stop shop for any toll violations or transponder misreads that they receive on their bills, as well as for handling any general customer service issues. Carriers simply contact PrePass, which manages the dispute with the tolling authority until it is resolved.
Compare that to dealing directly with E-ZPass, which has no central office. Customers have to contact the tolling authority in the state – or states – where the violation occurred. For example, say a transponder isn’t working, and a customer takes a trip from New Jersey to Ohio, passing through Pennsylvania. They receive violations or plate read tolls (meaning a transponder was not read and the toll was charged to a customer based on a reading of their vehicle’s license plate) from all three states. In this case, customers would have to contact each of the state E-ZPass offices to dispute those violations.
PrePass also helps its customers manage and monitor their tolling activity before problems have a chance to occur. PrePass’ INFORM Tolling provides customers with actionable data so they can view all toll activity on one consolidated dashboard, rather than managing independent accounts from multiple tolling authorities in their operating region.
With PrePass Plus, customers can:
- analyze activity statements and see toll usage by tolling authority;
- zoom in using interactive maps and timelines to see where and when toll activity occurs; and
- drill down by vehicle and ID numbers to find out which trucks and transponders are racking up tolls.
The PrePass and E-ZPass organizations are also vastly different.
PrePass is a service run by the non-profit organization HELP Inc., a public-private partnership established in 1993, dedicated to advancing the safety and efficiency of the commercial transportation industry. It is governed by a board of directors made up of an equal number of public sector and trucking industry representatives.
In contrast, E-ZPass was established in 1990, when the organizations governing seven toll facilities from the states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania joined to form an alliance known as the E-ZPass Interagency Group (IAG) to implement an electronic toll collection system. Today it consists of toll authorities/companies in 17 states and is the largest tolling network in the U.S.
We’re not saying that PrePass is better than E-ZPass; it’s simply different. And when you add in PrePass Plus to the other services offered by PrePass, you get more when it comes to your tolling, weigh station bypassing and trucking software needs.