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Something to watch in SoCal...like Newport [toll roads]

John Cerra

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We are back from a great week at Newport. Regarding Marriott, not one single complaint.

But a warning....we flew in John Wayne Airport and rented a car.
The rental car agency, Hertz, had no warning, no page, no discussion at the counter. They were more interested in upselling us into a more expensive rental.

We drove to Mission San Juan Capistrano and San Diego. There toll roads.
No only are the roads a bit expensive, but there are NO CASH LANES.

There were signs to pay online within 5 days. We called Hertz immediately and asked what to do, especially since we saw a transponder on the dash.

No problem, we were told, the transponder will be billed and it will be on your bill.

So a few days after we get home, we get a letter from a company named ATS. We now owe them $30 for the administrative fee. They "researched" who was driving for Hertz.(????) Plus, we still owe the tolls. and worse, they already have my credit card number.

I research it on the web. I get the joke. I call the Orange County Toll Road, pay the tolls, and after I explain what happened, they waived the $175+ fine.

Got that, a $175 fine, they waived. They have seen this before. They understand tourism.

So i call ATS and tell them I want the fee waived. We proactively called while driving, and were given bad information. We just as easily could have been given the right information and we could have paid online right there and then. I got on today with Hertz and told them either it is waived or I never rent from Hertz again.

I'm furious, and don't take things like this lightly. I will write to everybody that I can get involved, Attorney General of CA, the Orange County Airport Authority...and Marriott.

Marriott had nothing to do with this, but they, and we collectively pay a LOT of taxes on that huge property. What is being done hurts tourism, and thus our collective interests. I expect them to supportive here.

And for you Tuggers...beware....
 

Carlsbadguy

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I had the same thing happen with a Hertz rental in Florida. I had 2 small tolls going to the Tampa airport and they were billed thru Avis using the transponder which I was charged for the whole week so I think I was charged around $18 for a little over $1 in tolls.

If you use mapquest you can look up ways to avoid tolls. You could have taken Pacific Coast Highway to Dana Point to avoid the tolls.
 

melissy123

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Just for the future, what you and others could do: go online and pay the toll within 5 days. https://www.thetollroads.com/violation/oneTimeToll.do
All you need to do is enter your name and license plate number and credit card info.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is also like that, but in that instance you have to pay the toll within 48 hours. Once you've paid, the rental car agency can't double bill you. And you avoid the "processing" fees.
 

John Cerra

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If you use mapquest you can look up ways to avoid tolls. You could have taken Pacific Coast Highway to Dana Point to avoid the tolls.[/QUOTE]

...Sure, but we got ZERO notice on the no cash toll road.
When Marriott sent the "how was it" email, I made a suggestion they "notice" the Time Share folks.
 

Luanne

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I wonder when the toll roads started. I lived in southern California, and Orange County years ago. Back then, no toll roads at all.
 

Luvtoride

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So Cal toll roads

Yes, this happened to us earlier this year diluting a trip to Dana Point. We followed the instructions on the toll road to pay the toll via the website within 5 days. Although we got a violation notice in the mail a few weeks later we had our receipt for the toll paid and it was quickly resolved. Not the easiest thing in the world, but you should be warned by the rental car companies.
 

VegasBella

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I learned the hard way and now I have an account with thetollroads.com that pays my car automatically. We own two timeshares in that area and drive those roads every summer.

I would be angry about the rental car situation too.
 

davidvel

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I see your frustration, but being from NJ I assume you've dealt with toll roads for a long time. In CA, these are (relatively) new for us.

As for the 74 (yes we say 'the' before the "free"/tollway number) in So Cal, it recently went to cashless.

I'm confused that if you saw a transponder on the dash, it didn't register your toll. Was it a white square about 3'x3" with a TheTollRoads logo?
 

Bill4728

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The toll for driving the three miles on the 73 is more than $3. We just get off the freeway at MacArthur and drive around.
 
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Ty1on

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I learned the hard way and now I have an account with thetollroads.com that pays my car automatically. We own two timeshares in that area and drive those roads every summer.

After years of going the long way and getting caught in ridiculous traffic jams in order to avoid cashless toll roads I didn't understand, I'm signing on to this automatic CC charge program before my next trip to OC.

I always thought I would have to buy a FasTrack, but apparently one still needs FasTrack to use the 91 and 10 Express Lanes. $75 upfront unless you spend $7 per month minimum on tolls.
 

DEScottzz

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I learned the hard way and now I have an account with thetollroads.com that pays my car automatically. We own two timeshares in that area and drive those roads every summer.

I would be angry about the rental car situation too.

I didn't know you could do it automatically. Is that for a rent car?

I knew about the toll roads, so when I asked at the rental counter, they referred me to the web site, but I had to go in there and do everything manually.
 

Ty1on

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I didn't know you could do it automatically. Is that for a rent car?

I knew about the toll roads, so when I asked at the rental counter, they referred me to the web site, but I had to go in there and do everything manually.

According to TheTollRoads.com:

"Visit Orange County Often?
Frequent visitors to Southern California should consider signing up for a Charge ExpressAccount. You sign up for an account, drive The Toll Roads, and your credit card will be charged at the end of every day you pass through a tolling location. There are no monthly maintenance fees and your card is only charged when you drive the road. Also, if you are using a rental car you can temporarily add a vehicle's license plate to your account. With an ExpressAccount, you'll enjoy more time experiencing Orange County and less time paying tolls online."
 

bnoble

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This is one of the reasons I rent from National. Their toll-by-plate program has an overhead of $4 per day, but only for days you actually travel a toll road, and with a maximum of $20 per rental period. I typically only hit a toll road twice in a trip (from and to the airport) so for $8, I don't have to bother figuring out how to pay for them online.

Yes, I could save the $8, but it's vacation. I'm willing to live a little. We always get competitive rental rates through my employer---which allows us to use the rate code for personal trips---and it includes LDW and free extra drivers in many circumstances.
 

presley

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I always thought I would have to buy a FasTrack, but apparently one still needs FasTrack to use the 91 and 10 Express Lanes. $75 upfront unless you spend $7 per month minimum on tolls.

Another thought is to buy the San Diego County one. It works for the Orange county toll roads. It costs me $4.50/month if I don't use it. If I do use it, the monthly fee comes out of what I've racked up on my driving bill. I have it set to replenish the account when it gets down too far. http://fastrak.511sd.com/get-fastrak/fastrak-fees
It really depends on how much you use it. I used to drive to Orange County at least once per month, now not so much. I hardly ever use my Fastrak, but I hate driving in traffic enough that it is worth it to me to pay $4.50 when I don't use it, so I have it when I do need it.
 

dualrated2

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Colt Seavers

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If you use mapquest you can look up ways to avoid tolls. You could have taken Pacific Coast Highway to Dana Point to avoid the tolls.

PCH can be quite congested, especially on the weekends, and it could take long to get to Dana Point. What's funny about the 73 is that it only saves a few miles compared to the 405 and the 5 and the only traffic you miss is a short stretch through Irvine. Also be aware that if you take the 73 south it connects to the 5 in San Jaun Capistrano and the traffic from there to San Clemente has gotten exceedingly awful on Saturdays over the last few years.
 

VegasBella

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According to TheTollRoads.com:

"Visit Orange County Often?
Frequent visitors to Southern California should consider signing up for a Charge ExpressAccount. You sign up for an account, drive The Toll Roads, and your credit card will be charged at the end of every day you pass through a tolling location. There are no monthly maintenance fees and your card is only charged when you drive the road. Also, if you are using a rental car you can temporarily add a vehicle's license plate to your account. With an ExpressAccount, you'll enjoy more time experiencing Orange County and less time paying tolls online."


Exactly.

You create an account and then add license plates you want to pay for. You can set up the dates for each license plate. And there's a mobile app too so you can do it right on your phone.

Set it up beforehand. Saves a lot of hassle.
 

Swice

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I do blame Marriott

I actually do blame Marriott Vacation Club in this case.

We ran into the same thing years ago -- before everybody had a smart phone. I had printed out mapquest directions before arriving at John Wayne Airport and we drove to Newport Beach. This was at night! It was late and dark and upon exiting, we ran into the CASH ONLY toll machine. Since I had just arrived from out of town, I had credit cards and a wallet full of $20 bills. I did not have a pocket full of quarters. We didn't know what to do. I figured I'd sit and block traffic. Thankfully the next car that came up had change and we got through.

After that, I sent Marriott a note begging them to put a note on the webpage advising guests about the cash only toll exit. At the time, I did not blame Marriott-- they didn't install the toll machine. But after I originally posted on TUG, others commented that they had run into the same thing. So now, I do blame Marriott because after all of these years, guests are still running into the same surprise. All it would take would be a sentence on the website and/or confirmation advising guest to be aware of the cash only toll exit.
 

Bill4728

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I actually do blame Marriott Vacation Club in this case.

We ran into the same thing years ago -- before everybody had a smart phone. I had printed out mapquest directions before arriving at John Wayne Airport and we drove to Newport Beach. This was at night! It was late and dark and upon exiting, we ran into the CASH ONLY toll machine. Since I had just arrived from out of town, I had credit cards and a wallet full of $20 bills. I did not have a pocket full of quarters. We didn't know what to do. I figured I'd sit and block traffic. Thankfully the next car that came up had change and we got through.

After that, I sent Marriott a note begging them to put a note on the webpage advising guests about the cash only toll exit. At the time, I did not blame Marriott-- they didn't install the toll machine. But after I originally posted on TUG, others commented that they had run into the same thing. So now, I do blame Marriott because after all of these years, guests are still running into the same surprise. All it would take would be a sentence on the website and/or confirmation advising guest to be aware of the cash only toll exit.

There is no longer a "cash option" you basically have to pay via the website and the cost when up from $2 last year to $3.30 this year.

BUT I agree that avoiding the toll road is easy but you must know about it and the earlier exit off the freeway. (MacArthur)
 

davidvel

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Exactly.

You create an account and then add license plates you want to pay for. You can set up the dates for each license plate. And there's a mobile app too so you can do it right on your phone.

Set it up beforehand. Saves a lot of hassle.
I have the account, and use it for our cars.

One problem with rental cars on your account, though, unless I'm missing something: If you put your last vacation day in as ending date for plate (day you return to airport), drop off car, and someone rents and then takes the 73 the same day, you'll get billed. Likewise if someone drove through on the same day before you pick up your car, and put the first day in.

Probably VERY rare, but not sure there is any way around this tiny risk.
 

NYFLTRAVELER

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You can avoid the toll if you take CA-73 and get off at MacArthur and go +/- 1.5 miles to San Joaquin Hills Road (make left), it brings you right into Newport Coast Dr. at which point you make a right and you will see the Resort less than a half mile on your left across from Pelican Hill.
 

John Cerra

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I have the account, and use it for our cars.

One problem with rental cars on your account, though, unless I'm missing something: If you put your last vacation day in as ending date for plate (day you return to airport), drop off car, and someone rents and then takes the 73 the same day, you'll get billed. Likewise if someone drove through on the same day before you pick up your car, and put the first day in.

Probably VERY rare, but not sure there is any way around this tiny risk.

As much as we enjoyed Newport, I don't know when will be back. I have a lot of othr places I want to visit.

I made the original post to warn people, but I really Marriott decides they can inform their guests about this.

In the meantime, I wanted to let all my TUG friends know...
 

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According to TheTollRoads.com:

"Visit Orange County Often?
Frequent visitors to Southern California should consider signing up for a Charge ExpressAccount. You sign up for an account, drive The Toll Roads, and your credit card will be charged at the end of every day you pass through a tolling location. There are no monthly maintenance fees and your card is only charged when you drive the road. Also, if you are using a rental car you can temporarily add a vehicle's license plate to your account. With an ExpressAccount, you'll enjoy more time experiencing Orange County and less time paying tolls online."

Thanks you for this information. We visit 2-4 times a year at NCV. When they changed to cash only we didn't know about this option and did the McCather loop. But, after driving 7 hours, we want the fastest least congested road. THANKS!:whoopie:
 

SmithOp

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Perhaps some of the information passed on here can be added to the TUG resort description or reviews.

I find it hard to blame NCV when people are using various mapping apps, the maps should warn that toll roads are included or default to "avoid toll road" option.

I recently moved to Costa Mesa and go to Crystal Cove beach all the time, I prefer the Macarthur cutoff route to avoid tolls. I did sign up for an account online and registered my two car license numbers, we do use the 73 when going to San Diego, and the other routes when my wife visits her aunt in Chino Hills. Its worth the toll to avoid the construction going on on I5 and 91.

I was just in Costco in Fountain Valley and they are selling a transponder with $50 credit on it for $45, that is another option.


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