How Toll Management: 5 Tips for Fleet Managers – ChicagoNow | Mega Mediakw

Fleet managers have to deal with many ongoing costs. Fuel and maintenance are the most obvious and often some of the highest, but they’re not the only recurring costs to consider. Fleets also need to think about tolls.

There are more than 100 toll roads in the United States covering more than 5,000 miles. Any fleet operating in multiple states will likely have to deal with them at some point. Fleets should have a defined toll management approach if they constitute a regular expense. Here are five tips on how to make the most of such a strategy.

1. Use transponders

One of the simplest but most effective ways to streamline toll management is to use transponders instead of cash. Several states are eliminating cash toll booths entirely, but they’re often a better choice even when transponders are optional.

Cash transactions take more time and require additional charges from highway authorities. Consequently, many toll roads and bridges offer lower rates for transponder users to encourage more drivers to use them. Installing transponders in your fleet also helps drivers avoid traffic at tollbooths, resulting in more efficient routes and lower fuel costs.

Some toll systems offer volume discounts for prepaid transponders. Check out programs in areas your fleet frequents to see if you’re eligible for any of these discounts.

2. Avoid rush hours

Another way to improve toll management is to plan routes on toll roads around peak traffic times. Many of these freeways change their fares based on how much traffic they typically see at any given time. For example, the George Washington Bridge in New York is $2 more expensive during rush hours.

This difference may not seem like much, but it can add up over time. Fleets can avoid these higher fares by planning routes so that drivers only use toll roads during off-peak hours. These adjustments aren’t always possible, but they’re worth checking out.

3. Use AI to your advantage

Calculating the best departure times and the best routes to minimize tolls can be complicated. Fortunately, you can turn these complex calculations over to automation. Artificial intelligence (AI) route planning can weigh multiple factors to automatically determine the cheapest and most efficient route for each trip.

Sometimes it’s best to guide drivers through different areas as some states like Arizona don’t have toll roads or charge lower tolls. In other cases, it may be more economical to take a toll road during off-peak hours to get drivers to their destinations faster. The AI ​​can calculate real-time factors to account for these fluctuations, giving you the best route every time.

4. Check for errors

Another fleet management best practice that’s easy to overlook is checking billing statements for errors. Transponders are handy, but they’re not always accurate. Reading errors and misclassification can result in invoices being up to 60% higher than they should be.

Always go through billing statements in detail and keep your own records for reference. If something seems out of place, look at it. Finding and contesting billing errors can save you a lot of money.

Note that some errors may come from your own operations. Make sure drivers don’t switch transponders between vehicles as this could result in the system misclassifying them and potentially increasing their fares.

5. Consolidate your data

If you follow all of these steps, you’ll have a ton of information at your fingertips. Consolidating that data onto a single platform where you can see everything in context is simple but critical. If you don’t do this, managing tolls and routes can take far more time than necessary.

A fleet of 100 vehicles can spend 16 hours a month on toll management. A system for consolidating related data and automating basic tasks helps reduce that time, freeing employees to focus on other, more pressing tasks.

Better toll management saves you time and money

Toll management can significantly affect the efficiency and profitability of a fleet. These five steps will help any fleet reduce its toll spend and find the most cost-effective routes for each trip. You can then work as efficiently as possible without fear of unexpected costs.

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