In the coming months, SunPass will be replacing all of its older transponder models with newer, battery-free replacements.
Drivers will get the free upgrade to SunPass Slim Portable, which doesn't beep when a toll is paid. It can be moved from car to car and is less than an inch thick, or they can get the SunPass Mini Sticker, which can't be moved from car to car and is as thin as a credit card.
The replacement program started in June when Florida's Turnpike mailed 25,000 postcards to drivers with older transponders, the Sun Sentinel reported.
The other 2 million SunPass customers with outdated transponders will be contacted on a rolling basis by email or postcard. The notifications include instructions on how to replace the older model.
If drivers refuse to upgrade, officials said their old transponder will be deactivated within 18 months, the newspaper reported.
However, some drivers like the features offered in the older model and don't want to switch.
"First, they sold it for an arm and a leg. Then, they took away the cool functionality, allowing me to see the charges and the balance right on it. Then, when it died, I had to buy a new, worse model," Michael Savuskan told the newspaper. "Now, they are exchanging them? Nice."
Drivers don't have a choice. Starting Oct. 1, 2016, one transponder will be used for all toll roads in the nation. That way, users don't have to worry about paying out-of-state tolls while using their SunPass.
Older models, including ones sold as recently as 2010, won't function properly elsewhere, the newspaper reported.
Officials are asking customers not to replace their transponder until they have been contacted by SunPass.
"Be patient," Turnpike Enterprise executive director Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti told the newspaper. "We want to make sure we respond to everyone in a timely fashion."
The cost of the replacement program isn't known, the newspaper reported. It will depend whether drivers swap for the $25 portable model or the $4.99 sticker tag.
SunPass, which has sold more than 8 million transponders since the program's inception in 1999, now has the ability to be used on a North Carolina toll road, the newspaper reported.
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