Kansas Turnpike to switch to cashless tolling at 11:59 p.m. June 30. Here’s what to know.

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For the nearly 70% of Kansas Turnpike users who have K-Tags or similar devices from other states, little will change when the Kansas Turnpike Authority implements cashless tolling at 11:59 p.m. June 30.

They will continue using their credit card or bank account to pay a monthly bill to cover tolls incurred driving on any part of that 236-mile toll road between Kansas City, Kansas, and the Kansas/Oklahoma state line.

But other drivers will no longer pick up a ticket when they enter the turnpike or pay by cash or card at a toll booth when they leave it. Under the new setup, all drivers will keep moving when they enter and leave the Turnpike.

Here are answers from the Kansas Turnpike Authority, a private organization that owns and operates the Turnpike, to questions The Capital-Journal posed about the arrangement being put in place.

How will the Turnpike folks know who to charge if a vehicle being driven on the Turnpike doesn’t have a K-TAG or electronic cashless tolling device from another state?

The KTA’s new toll payment system, DriveKS, will use a transponder to identify vehicles by their K-TAG or license plate. If a vehicle doesn’t have an electronic cashless tolling device, DriveKS will use license plate registration information to identify its owner’s home address and send that person a bill, unless he or she has already arranged to pay. Drivers without K-TAGs or similar devices will be able to create an account to enter their vehicle and payment information into the system before they use the Turnpike. “Limited functionality will be available for customers who wish to pay after driving but before receiving the mailed bill,” said Rachel Bell, the KTA’s director of business services and customer relations.

Will drivers with K-TAGs pay less?

Yes. Drivers with K-TAGs will pay half of what everyone else pays. The actual charges per mile are listed on the KTA website.  The KTA was in the process this past week of creating an online toll calculator update, which will show customers current rates compared to cashless rates, Bell said.

How much does a K-TAG cost?

K-TAG stickers, which can be attached to the inside of a vehicle’s windshield, are free. Bumper-mounted external K-TAGs cost $25 each. K-TAGs may be ordered online at myktag.com.

How is the KTA seeking to help customers navigate this transition more smoothly?

The KTA has released a virtual Go! Cashless toolkit, which is free to use and available at www.DriveKS.com. Available materials include short videos, FAQs, newsletter/article copy, flyers and posters. Printed material is also being provided to communities along the Turnpike and partners and stakeholders throughout the region.

I’ve driven on Turnpikes in other states where I didn’t know I was on a toll road until I was driving on it. Will adequate signage be posted to let me know if the entrance to the turning is approaching?

Yes.

When was the upcoming conversion to cashless tolling announced?

In early 2020, though efforts to convert to cashless tolling have been in the works for nearly a decade.

How significant is this change?

“This is the largest change for Turnpike customers since opening day in 1956,” said Steve Hewitt, CEO of the KTA. “We are excited to improve safety while also enhancing the customer experience and modernizing our operations.”

How much support exists for this change?

The KTA says that in its most recent customer satisfaction survey, 84% of respondents supported the conversion to cashless tolling and 95% said they thought the KTA is an important part of Kansas transportation. “Cashless tolling is something our customers experience in other states and we’re proud to bring it here to Kansas,” said Bruce Meisch, the KTA’s director of technology and manager of the cashless conversion project.

How was staffing taken into account in deciding to go to cashless tolling?

A 2014 review of manual toll collection staff revealed that nearly 70% would be of retirement age within the following decade. As part of the conversion, the KTA created a workforce transition plan for employees impacted by cashless tolling.

How does this change affect KTA equipment?

The KTA’s existing toll collection equipment was reaching the end of its useful life. It is being replaced by roadside tolling equipment on 42 new overhead gantries along the roadway. This equipment connects to a customized back-office system, providing better customer service and increased efficiency.

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