See this thing?

It’s a FastTrack transponder. Roughly 30% of the cars that I see in Orange County have these affixed to their windshield.

I don’t take The Toll Roads much, but when I do I usually pay cash. This, I have learned, is dumb. I should have been using a transponder the whole time.

Last week I got one for my car and it’s made driving on the toll roads so much fun! Instead of slowing down and stopping at a toll plaza to feed a dollar or drop some coins into a machine, I can just keep driving at full speed through the special FastTrack lane! The transponder does a little “beep beep” so that you know the toll has been deducted from your account and you just keep driving!

The transponder is free but you need to ‘load up’ your account with $30 to get started. Once your balance dips below $10, they automatically charge your card $30 to refill it. It’s a very efficient system.

The best part is that transponder users get a discount on every toll paid, anywhere from $0.25 to $0.75 depending on the toll.

These transponders are interoperable and work on toll roads all over California, from the TCA-owned Orange County toll roads to the OCTA-owned 91 Express Lanes to the eight BATA-owned San Francisco bay-area bridges. This one little doo-dad lets me drive on all of them.

I’m not about to stick those adhesive velcro strips on my windshield, though. I keep the transponder in my glove box and just throw it on my dashboard when I take the toll roads. It works!

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