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Illinois Tollway will permanently end cash toll collections nearly a year after switching to all-electronic payments

Illinois Tollway will permanently end cash toll collections nearly a year after switching to all-electronic payments

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The Illinois Tollway said Thursday it is permanently eliminating cash toll collections almost a year after it took away the option because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since mid-March, the Tollway has suspended all cash toll payments to prevent the spread of the virus. In June, the agency began allowing drivers who don’t use I-Pass or E-ZPass to enter their license plate number at and pay online. Customers unable to pay online can pay by check or money order.

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More than 92% of toll transactions in 2019 took place using I-Pass and E-ZPass, and that number has increased during the pandemic as fewer people who don’t use those devices take the Tollway, the agency said.

The Tollway plans in May to expand its I-Pass Assist program to lower-income households. Under the program, drivers whose household income is below 250% of the federal poverty guidelines will have the deposit on transponders waived and receive $20 in tolls.

“With steps to ensure equity for those who use our system, this spring, customers will begin to see permanent changes at toll plazas systemwide — changes made to ensure customers are able to safely and confidently navigate our toll plazas that will all but put cash toll collection behind us,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez said in a news release Thursday.

The Tollway allows drivers who don’t use I-Pass and E-ZPass to pay up to 14 days after using the Tollway. Last summer, the agency reduced fines for unpaid tolls to $3 on passenger vehicles from $20.

The agency said it’s developing a plan for a safe reopening of in-person customer service centers and is increasing call center capacity. Toll service workers are being offered different positions at the agency, the Tollway said.

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