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Avoid Tolls feature in Tesla-Google Maps App -- Model S

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by oldgoat1968, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. oldgoat1968

    oldgoat1968 Member

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    This might seem like a minor problem to some, but I assure it was a big deal for us on a recent trip from our home in Florida to Hill Country, TX. One of the Supercharger stops (which happens to also be a Tesla showroom and Service Center) is in Houston. Anyone who has never driven in Houston, let me tell you, the only place in my long driving experience that has more traffic, faster drivers, etc. is Boston! Anyway, I was following the turn by turn directions on my 17" display to get to the supercharger. I was driving north on Hwy 8. I was in the far left lane trying to pass and the traffic was VERY heavy. Suddenly, a sign popped up saying "Last Exit before Tolls -- NO CASH!!" There was no way short of a panic stop that I was going to make that exit. So I did the only thing I could do --- drive on. I tried to get off at the very next exit, but there was no toll booth, just a whole bunch of cameras. So I decided to press on. It was like that the rest of the way. Apparently, I had to have an RF-ID device called "Easy Pass" or some such. I gather it's a lot like Sun Pass in South Florida which I bought on a recent trip down there.
    Then, I tried to find the option in Google Maps that lets you avoid tolls. There appears to be none. I expect to receive a fine by mail in the next few weeks, and I am told it will be a whopper. Allegedly, Texas Highway Patrol is really cracking down on toll violators, especially those from out of state.
    I found the Tesla shop [with supercharger] and asked the Tesla sales people for some local advice and since it was a weekend, they told me there is no way to talk to a human at Easy Pass. So I asked for advice on a way to leave town by avoiding toll roads. There is nothing EASY about Easy Pass.
    But on the return trip, the very same thing happened. This time, at least, I was quick enough to leave the recommended road before the toll started. But then, it was trial and error. I'd drive up some other road shown on the map hoping it was not also a toll road. This process ended up taking about an hour longer than the time predicted on the Google Maps screen the first time. We managed to find our way without the benefit of GPS turn by turn instructions, but it took forever, trying one route to check to see if it, too, is a toll road.
    Can anybody advise if there is, in fact, a way to avoid tolls, or at least see by a color code whether the suggested road is a toll road before getting hit with a big fine. I haven't had a ticket in over 40 years and I don't relish the idea of paying for this one.
    The car did not have one hiccup on the drive (2756 miles in all) and the Superchargers were supreme! It was really our first long trip in the new Model S and I LOVED every minute except for this little incident. If this turns into a $50 fine or worse, I'm likely to pop a blood vessel!
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    The Tesla Nav system loves to go on toll roads. It even goes out of the way to get on them.

    In Texas, what happens is you will receive a bill, not a fine. I got one for $5 a couple of months ago because the SC test drove the car on the toll road.
     
  3. kavyboy

    kavyboy Member

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    I had a similar experience here in Houston a few weeks ago, although in another location (Grand Parkway). The trip planner seems to have a bias toward selecting toll routes, even when it doesn't make sense. I now bring up Google maps just to confirm that there are no tolls.
     
  4. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    For anyone going through Florida, do note that they'll send you a bill 3 weeks later for any missed tolls - including the cash only silliness at the very exit required in order to use one of the SCs - West Palm Beach if I remember right.

    Driving in the midwest and east and evidently southeast is indeed a toll-laden experience.

    Consider downloading the Waze app for your smartphone and toggling on the "Avoid toll roads" option such that you have an alternative to the routes recommended by Nav/Trip Planner. In some areas (hello, Kansas, hello New York from Buffalo to Albany), there's really no viable alternative. But in other places (Los Angeles to San Diego, for example), the toll road is completely avoidable without much time penalty.
     
  5. cdub

    cdub Future Model 3 owner

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    When I read the title I thought it said "Avoid Trolls"... I was confused... didn't know internet trolls would show up along your route. ;)
     
    • Funny x 1
  6. oldgoat1968

    oldgoat1968 Member

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    Tao-Jones - Thanks for the WAZE tip. I downloaded that app years ago but haven't used it for awhile. That might be just the way to get around this problem. Many thanks for the suggestion.
    Dave
     
  7. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    The trip planner is Navigon, not Google maps.
     
  8. BertL

    BertL Active Member

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    #8 BertL, Apr 11, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
    Unfortunately this is a missing basic function in Tesla's Nav compared to most other brands including much less expensive non-luxury models. Period. There are only non-Tesla workarounds to help with the lack of built-in ability to specify if one wants to avoid tolls and ferries.

    I hope you document your displeasure directly to Tesla. Perhaps Elon and Tesla will eventually prioritize such improvements when enough individual owners express their growing concerns (instead of playing around creating new Easter eggs that gain press and chuckles from others).
     
  9. cjt3

    cjt3 Member

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    Agree with you on the need for the feature. Also, see the following from the FAQs at hctra.org (Harris County Toll Road Authority):

    For a mailed Toll Violation Invoice:

    If you have received a mailed Toll Violation Invoice, you may payonline. You may also pay by mail to the address shown on your invoice, or by calling 281-875-3279 during posted business hours. Please include the Toll Violation Invoice number, license plate and state on all documents and payments, along with a phone number and an email address where you may be reached.
    For a toll violation event not yet invoiced:

    To make payment for a toll violation event which has not yet been invoiced to you, please call 281-875-3279 to pay by credit card. Payment may also be made by US check or money order at one of our EZ TAG Store locations, or by mail to the address below. Because toll payment is due at the time of the transaction, payment for a toll violation event will only be accepted as a one-time courtesy and is intended for drivers who have accidentally entered the toll road without the proper payment method. All future toll transactions will be processed as part of a Toll Violation Invoice if payment is not received at the time of the transaction, per Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 284.

    HCTRA – Payment Processing
    7701 Wilshire Place Drive
    Houston, TX 77040-5326
    Payment cannot be processed without your license plate number, state and contact information. Include the date, time and location of the event, if possible. Please do not send cash!
     
    • Helpful x 1
  10. Beryl

    Beryl Member

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    As a relative newbie to the Houston area, I'm pleased when others note this phenomenon. I've driven most of the USA mostly in CA and CO and 5 years in various TX cities but Houston is the worse. I believe that traffic is a big reason that Teslas have become so popular here despite legislation roadblocks and comparatively few SCs.

    That said, I agree the feature is needed and the subsequent post from cjt3 should be comforting.
     
  11. ABCCBA

    ABCCBA Member

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    Very similar thing happened to me a couple weeks ago. I picked up my S85D in Austin and drove it back to Florida. I plugged the route into the MS navigation system, and it plotted the whole route for me. The first stop was the Houston SuC at the Houston SC. After leaving the Houston SC, it took me south to the loop and around to I-10 on the East side of Houston. So, I get on the loop and am just cruising along, with cars passing me left and right. I follow route guidance. Then, as described by OP, I am in the far left lane and there is a sign that said something to the effect of last exit before NO CASH toll. Well, I really had know idea what it meant. I kept straight. I guess I shouldn't have, because about a mile down the road, I start seeing that all of the exits are marked 'NO CASH'. Now I am panicked. What do I do? I start trying to google the toll authority on my phone, to call and ask what to do. But I keep going. I made it all the way until I was about three miles from I-10 and there is a mega superstructure from the future that spans the entire eight lane highway. Cameras, antennas and maybe even laser ray guns? But not a sole in sight. At this point, I was on the road by myself, so it was obvious who was about to run this automated toll plaza. Me, the bright blue Model S with a Tesla No Emissions tag on the rear. So, I just kept my speed as I was ready to plead ignorance. But, I passed through the complex, no laser beams, lights, sirens or flashes. And, no THP chasing after me. A couple miles further and I merged onto I-10 and took a breath. I guess the only thing that saved me from a mail-in ticket was that I did not have a transit tag posted on the rear, but rather inside with me. So, the only thing they had to go by was a Telsa Tag on the rear and a guy with the 'Fear of God' look on his face from behind the steering wheel. They probably got such a laugh from that image, that they decided not to run the facial recognition to locate me.
     
    • Funny x 1
  12. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    You're most welcome, Dave. As an aside, the newish UI for Waze is not the easiest. However, after launching the app (after creating an account and then logging in), if you tap upon the icon at lower left, and then upon the gear icon (Settings) at upper left, the "Avoid tolls" toggle will appear midway down the screen.

    Now that I think about it, I will probably budget $250 for tolls for this next series of trips - it's just gotten ridiculous in some places; for example, a $0.10 toll followed by a $19.40 toll 2 miles down the road? Really? Nothing like tourist dollars at work. How do those darned states largely west of the Mississippi survive? /rant.

    Maybe will skip Florida this time around depending upon the humidity - that'll save easily $50 in tolls right there, and save them from sending me another (admittedly very clear and not at all dysfunctional) bill - heh.

    In any case, good luck.
     
  13. oldgoat1968

    oldgoat1968 Member

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    Not all of Florida is toll crazy. I live in the Panhandle in a little town called Panama City Beach. It is midway between Pensacola (100 miles to the west) and Tallahassee (100 miles to the east). There are zero tolls in my county and only one small toll in the county to my immediate west. I have never run into a toll all the way west to Jacksonville, so that means nearly the entire northern part of the state is essentially toll free. Kind of like it that way . . .
     
  14. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    #14 kort677, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
    not for long, the libs are installing tolls on new roads in and around jacksonville. check out how they're trying to get deeper into your pockets

    Dem. Senator Proposes ABSURD "Pay Per Mile" Driving Tax... Do You Live In This State?
     
  15. Naonak

    Naonak Member

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    Houston is terrible about tolls. And just for your reference, expect the normal toll + an $11 "convenience fee" for each toll booth you passed without a transponder. Houston can bite my shiny metal ass with their crappy roads and even worse drivers. One mistake on the tolls ways can cost you $60 - $100. If you never plan on going back to Houston, I would ignore the fines... but if you plan on going back one day, you might want to pay them.
     
  16. raijin

    raijin Member

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    On the contrary, I wish the tesla sat nav has express lane toll info in Los Angeles so that I don't need to use my waze.
     
    • Like x 1
  17. Shaggy

    Shaggy Member

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    My 2013 Ford Fusion's Nav has a couple of routing check boxes, Avoid Tolls, prioritize green - driving speed - distance...

    I agree it's about priorities in programming, but you'd think they have a list of features to add that they'd roll out with the other updates.
     
  18. markn455

    markn455 Member

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    Lots of great features on the Fusion. Unfortunately they didn't well. Mine was traffic aware but didn't care.
     
  19. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I hate tolls roads and I agree there should be a way to tell the navigation system to avoid tolls. Tomtom could do that 10 years ago. It can't be that hard to include that.
    But it also needs to be aware of HOV lanes and lead me onto those. After all here in California you can legally go on the car pool lane in a EV with the stickers. It often makes a big difference in time and if the navigation isn't aware of the different lanes and their different levels of traffic, how can it find the best route? Many times the Tesla navigation told me to leave the freeway and use surface streets, but in reality the car pool lane was moving very fast. Same with toll lanes (here in LA) they are like HOV lanes. If you want to pay you can go on them and usually drive faster. It's the same road but a separate lane. The navigation really needs to be aware of these things to pick the best route. According to Tesla, they do have the ability to know which lanes the car is in so the capability is there.
     
    • Like x 1
  20. doctorwho

    doctorwho Member

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    Weird, in Australia the Tesla Nav system determinently routes me off every single toll road, even the ones I've driven on nearly every day for the past year! Its very annoying and no way to change it
     

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