BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Smartphone apps allow us to do so much from the palm of our hands. But what if they instantaneously could help us pay for turnpike tolls? That’s the idea of a local state senator.
State Senator Marty Flynn wants to make paying for tolls accrued on the Pennsylvania turnpike faster, easier and more convenient all with the tap of a screen.
Many drivers travel the Pennsylvania turnpike. Unless you have E-ZPass, the state uses a toll-by-plate system. Cameras take pictures of license plates going through the booth.
Customers get their bills in the mail about a month later.
Scott Jordan says his five kids are always on the go, and invoices show up in his mailbox about every two weeks.
“I got the E-ZPass, but my kids use the turnpike all the time and they don’t have the E-ZPass so they get it in the mail and then I have to harp on them to pay the bill,” explained Scott Jordan.
The lengthy process often results in missed payments. It’s what inspired State Senator Marty Flynn to come up with an alternative.
“When you see $104 million dollars that we haven’t collected from people not paying their tolls, we have to start thinking outside of the box,” stated Flynn.
Flynn plans to introduce legislation to modernize the turnpike’s toll collection method.
He wants the PA turnpike commission to allow drivers to pay for toll bills with the smartphone apps PayPal, Venmo, Zelle or cash app.
“Smartphones, 21st century, it’s a press of a button. Why not use that option,” said Flynn.
PA turnpike commission spokesperson Carl Defebo says they’re always looking to innovate.
“We are always looking to expand payment options and make it more convenient for our customers to pay their tolls in the ways that they prefer to pay,” explained Defebo.
All to keep up with the technological times.
“It would make it convenient for a lot of people who are into technology and want to use Venmo and PayPal and all that stuff,” said Jordan.
The PA turnpike does have a cell phone app that allows drivers to pay their toll bills but Flynn argues it’s not as popular and as widespread as the others.