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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Kansas Turnpike turns to cashless tolling

Effective July 1, the turnpike no longer uses a manual tolling system, instead transitioning to a cashless system with online payments
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Travelers+headed+west+on+I-70+slow+down+due+to+accumulations+of+hail+on+the+highway+after+storms+caused+problems+April+26%2C+2016.+%28Archive+photo+by+Evert+Nelson+%7C+The+Collegian%29
Travelers headed west on I-70 slow down due to accumulations of hail on the highway after storms caused problems April 26, 2016. (Archive photo by Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

The Kansas Turnpike now utilizes cashless tolling instead of collecting tolls on the roadway. This change aims to improve safety and customer convenience.

“We’re excited to launch this customer-driven change,” Steve Hewitt, Kansas Turnpike Authority CEO said in a statement. “Cashless tolling offers a safer, more efficient customer experience while keeping toll rates at some of the lowest of any cashless system in the country.”

Many Kansas State students frequent the turnpike while traveling to and from Manhattan. For students without a K-Tag — the toll transponder used by the KTA — the former tolling system could be inconvenient.

“Sometimes they have a long line that pushes back my arrival time to my destination,” Lizzie Povich, junior in architecture, said. “One time I couldn’t get over fast enough so I missed the exit to pick up the ticket and had to do extra stuff to pay for it after.”

Traffic caused by the toll booths was considered a safety concern and was a driving force behind the change.

“Removing toll booths and reconfiguring traffic at KTA’s interchanges is a key factor behind KTA’s cashless tolling decision,” David Jacobson, director of engineering, said. “Not having vehicles stopped at a toll booth, creating a potential collision point, makes for a safer road and better customer experience.”

Povich said this possibility concerned her in the past. 

“Some people just come up way too fast or in a long line wait on their phones and aren’t paying attention,” Povich said. 

As cashless tolling began on July 1, KTA rolled out its new toll payment system. The DriveKS website is the new home for payment statements and customer communication.

Drivers can now be identified using K-Tags or license plate recognition. After traveling on the turnpike, customers can log into their DriveKS account to pay their fees. 

Izzy Pinkse, senior in accounting, said she has concerns about the new system. 

“It could cause problems for Kansas because if it messes up they are losing money, but hopefully their mistake wouldn’t cause me to get fined.” 

As students prepare to return to Manhattan, those traveling the turnpike can create an account on the DriveKS website or mobile app to make their cashless toll payments or continue using a K-Tag.

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