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Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

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Los Angeles...
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Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

We are planning a snorkel trip from Key West to key Largo to Miami. We just plan on staying on route 1 until Key Largo, and then whatever is the quickest way to Hampton Inn Blue Lagoon for 1 night and fly back home next day. One lady that I spoke to on a transportation board said that I wouldn't have any tolls. I called back a second time and the next person said to purchase sunpass from car rental agency for the week and then I don't have to think about it. Obviously, I don't want to buy something not needed. Now I am totally confused.

Miami, FL
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1. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

If your plan is to go US1 all the way down you will not need a Sunpass. Even if you took Card Sound Road to Key Largo (which I recommend you do and stop at Alabama Jack's for some cold brew and crabcakes). That road does not honor sunpass and takes cash.

Now, the quickest route back is Turnpike. Here you will encounter tolls. However full conversion to the cashless system is not expected until late next year. So for now you can pay cash. I think for the moment- its the simplest way to go about this. The car rental companies do not sell a Sunpass. They register your plate with the electronic system, depending on the company some of the fees they charge for this will far exceed your cash payments.

Hope I didn't confuse you.

Yogi

Brandon, Florida
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2. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

It's entirely up to you - either take the Turnpike and pay the tolls or use Hwy 1 and not pay, but it will be slower.

Miami, FL
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3. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

They are confusing everybody with the present hybrid system. Whether you end up on a Sunpass mandatory roadway depends on the route you take (& therefore from where you start.) Blue Lagoon is on Route 836. If you take 836 west to 826 south (Palmetto expressway) straight to US-1 you will have NO TOLLS going or coming. However, about 2 miles or so south of the 836/826 junction, there will be an exit to "Turnpike South" or to "878" or "South Dade Expressway" (same road). If you take that you will be on a Sun-pass only Expressway for a few miles before hitting the Florida Turnpike which has both cash & Sunpass lanes. That's not a disaster. All rental cars are (supposed to be) on a "Toll by plate" system where they pay the toll system a few cents more per toll. Tell the Rental agent you want to be on the toll by plate system & will pay the additional charge on your bill. As I understand it you are supposed to have that option, perhaps for a small extra charge. Bear in mind, if they can get you to pay them a daily charge to "rent" a transponder or just to have the "toll by Plate" option it is all pure profit to them, as neither costs them anything. This is the first winter season with this system in place & I don't know what unintentional or intentional misinformation is being given to customers at the desk. Note: If you are on a roadway like the Florida Turnpike that has both Sunpass AND cash lanes the "Toll by Plate" doesn't apply & running the toll lane is a $100 fine.

Miami Beach, Florida
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4. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

I live and drive here and I agree with Matt, everyone is confused by the new system they are bringing in! But for that route mentioned if you stay on US1, there are no tolls.

Jess

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

I'm a bit confused. We are starting at key west. 3 nights there, doing the Dry tortugas one day. Driving to Looe key divers on overseas highway the next for snorkle to L.K. Back one more night at Key West. Then one night in Islamorada , 3 nights in Key Largo area, then last night by MIA. So where are the tolls. We are going in April. Thanks. Anita

Brandon, Florida
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6. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

Use maps.google.com to plot your return to Miami near the airport then read the accompanying directions then re-read message #2.

Miami, FL
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7. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

Here is my problem with the whole toll situation with the car rental companies:

If you rent with Avis, Budget, Hertz you are automatically enrolled in Plate Pass will bill the car renters' credit cards by the amount of tolls plus a daily fee of $2.00 to $2.50 on days when a toll charge is incurred.

Dollar and Thrify cars will provide coverage of unlimited tolls for a flat daily fee of $5.95 or a weekly $27.95 for the time the car is rented. But you have to opt-in. If you don't opt in Dollar will assess a $25 administration fee, plus the tolls collected.

I don't understand why Florida didn't make all the companies come into the same agreement. Avis/Budget/Hertz seems to be the more consumer friendly plan.

UK
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8. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

Matt,

It is my understanding you Cannot use toll by plate with a rental car- this is for owners of out of state cars. Rental cars you have to use the system they require you to.

It is also my understanding Dollar will charge more than $28 per week of rental (and UK rentals tend to be int he 14 day range) more like $36 per week or more with sales tax added.

It is outragous to have to pay this for a few dollars toll on the way back So I will (despite having used Dollar for the past 6 rentals in 2 years) be no longer using Dollar. I am even thinking of mailing them back my Dollar express card with a letter of complaint lol. The toll authority and the govt should have made the car rental companies treat customers more friendly than this blatant ripoff.

also, it was my understanding that the Homestead extension of the FL turnpike was going cashless next month (and it is the way many get to the keys).

Miami, FL
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9. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

Just checked the Sun-Pass site: It says Enterprise/Alamo/National will charge $2.00 for any day the Toll by Plate is used (up to $6.00 max a week) + the actual Toll by Plate charge.

That means Dollar/Thrifty are by far the most expensive.

Edited: 14 January 2011, 02:02
Iowa
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10. Re: Is sunpass necessary for car rental from Key west to MIA?

What is the actual cost of the tolls from FLL to Keys (not counting the daily charge by rental companies)? I am assuming we will take the tollway all the way. We are going Jan.25-Feb.1.

Edited: 14 January 2011, 02:48