According to John Andrews, president and chief executive officer, Bestpass Inc., “The challenge of managing tolls is often underestimated by trucking companies. With as many as 40 separate toll authorities in North America, motor carriers and other types of transportation operations are incurring costs associated with the hours it takes to manage this business process, and those costs are nearly impossible to pass on in rates.”
He goes on to say, consider the toll management challenge for a trucking company that operates multiple vehicles in 48 states. For every vehicle and each tolling authority, someone has to reconcile activity, handle billing and payments, manage transponders and address discrepancies and violations. Compounding that challenge are the different billing cycles, discount programs and payment methods used by various authorities around the country.
“Much to the tolling industry’s surprise, the advent of electronic tolls has actually introduced new management costs for trucking companies by shifting the burden from simply reconciling paper toll receipts and reimbursing drivers to transponder and data management,” Andrews contends. “We estimate, based on the size of the fleet, that three to 15 hours of management time per month is spent on electronic toll related issues. Depending on hourly rates and benefits, those costs can add up quickly. Add to that missed opportunities to reduce or eliminate penalties paid for toll violations that go unaddressed—often caused by vehicle transponder or toll lane reader issues—and the costs can skyrocket.”
For a growing number of trucking operations; however, IT solutions are available to streamline this ongoing, time consuming and costly process. Toll management technology, including user-friendly account management tools, can effectively address this challenge for on-highway trucking operations, including some of the country’s largest fleets.
“IT-based toll management provides savings in several ways,” Andrews notes. “Consolidated billing that correctly assigns toll usage to each vehicle throughout the month and normalizes that usage for the differing toll authorities to a calendar month cuts or removes management time. Management tools can help deal with toll usage reconciliation and verification issues, meaning fewer phone calls and less frustration, as well as the ability to free up staff for other duties.”
Toll management systems also help more effectively manage the transponders used on trucks, tractors and trailers for both toll and weigh station bypass activity. That capability is effective when vehicles are being added or replaced by a fleet and for handling toll management data on leased and rented vehicles.
Technology solutions employed by a toll management service provider can also lead to savings in IT systems development, focusing IT investment back onto your business. Andrews adds, “Last but not least, aggregated toll usage data allocated correctly to each vehicle can feed analytical tools with data for analysis and for making more effective routing and rating decisions.”
There are also hard savings to be realized by employing a comprehensive toll management solution that can use its bulk purchasing power with tolling authorities.
“At Bestpass, we have already saved commercial motor carriers operating more than 250,000 pieces of equipment with $30 million in toll charge discounts over the last 10 years,” Andrews states. “Beyond discounts, we are also processing over $22 million in tolls monthly, and some of the biggest users of our toll management technology are saving tens of thousands of dollars annually in back office costs.”