New app allows drivers to pay tolls without having I-PASS

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

The occasional trip to Chicago doesn’t have to include waiting at tolls or taking the long road to avoid them.

Radek Mista doesn’t have to travel from his home in Wisconsin to Chicago enough to warrant buying an I-PASS transponder, but enough to be annoyed by sitting at the tolls.

He developed FastToll for people like himself that wanted the convenience of coasting through I-PASS lanes, but have a box on his windshield. “It feels like they come up every ten minutes. It’s very annoying,” he said. “You have to stop time after time and take out the right amount of cash and deal with that.”

The FastToll app doesn’t pay tolls for you, but records which ones you’ve passed through and then directs you to the Illinois Tollway site to pay. It works by using your phone’s GPS to track the tolls you drive through along with the time and date that you did it.

Illinois’ tolls allow you to pay for tolls up to seven days after you pass through them without paying. FastToll will alert you to that deadline if you haven’t paid the toll through the app. Doing so will incur a fee that goes to processing charges. One reviewer on the app in Apple’s App Store said they incurred $1.90 in fees for $7.90 in tolls, but you can get around this by using the info from the app to pay on the Illinois Tollway site.

Using FastToll will not get you the discounted I-PASS rate of 50 percent off of the cash toll price.

Anyone who has fumbled through the pile of coins while weaving through traffic or scrambled to scribble down the toll information to pay later can see the safety benefits of the app. “You have to record the time, date and all that information and then make the payment online,” Mista said. “It’s dangerous and not easy to do.”

The Tollway was in the planning stages of creating an app that would do something similar in 2014, but never brought the product to market. Mista’s app is in no way connected to the Illinois Tollway.

His company, Pragmistic, is also developing technology that will work at unmanned toll booths here and in other nearby states as well, alleviating the anxiety of having the correct change at a gated and unmanned tollbooth.

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