Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Convenience... At a Price, Of Course.

As we left the lure coursing trial in Hutto, TX last Sunday, I decided I wanted to avoid the usual glut of traffic we would encounter on US79 and I35. Bad nearly all the time, it's worse on Sunday afternoons and Fridays. I hopped on the toll road (130). This was only the second time we've traveled this highway, because the first time we were put off by paying $4.50 for a roughly 6 mile trip. This time, however, we weren't pulling the car, and we would be going about 20 miles or so. The nice thing about the toll roads is that Texans rarely use them, so traffic is very light.

As we approached the toll plaza, I noticed that in addition to the "TXTag" lane, (a prepaid option, similar to that used on toll roads all over the country), there was also a sign for "Pay by Mail". That's different, I thought. I wondered how that worked. Could it be as simple as it sounds? Camera takes a picture of your plate and mails you a bill? So, when we paid the lady in the toll booth I asked. And that's exactly how it works.

What a great idea, even though there's a dollar charge added to the bill. I use almost that much in gas to slow and stop, then idle while we exchange cash (an item we're occasionally low on) for a receipt, then have to accelerate back to freeway speeds. What convenience to just.. keep.. going. I like it. Wish they did that in Chicago, and Oklahoma, among other places.

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