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  1. Default Road tolls in USA, & cellphones

    Hi Folks, I'm a newbie from UK planning an 11 week trip across the country. What a great site you have here, and so many decent people willing to help us out!

    Can anyone guide me please as to how frequently I am going to find road tolls? (Here in UK it is mostly only on bridges, plus the odd section of motorway.) Would the tolls be just on the Interstates, or are they more widespread...? And any guidance on how much is payable will be appreciated.

    2nd question: is my mobile/cellphone going to find coverage most of the time? Or will I find myself in quite large areas with no coverage between major cities?


  2. #2

    Default Depends

    The answer to both questions depends hugely on what area you will be visiting. I've never really had a huge issue with mobile/cell reception - the only places I've sometimes struggles to pick up reception is inside the national parks. Other than that I have always picked up one network or another when I've wanted to call/text someone. Just remember to check you have a quad/tri band phone and call your service provider to ensure they have enabled roaming for you.

  3. #3
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Location

    Tollways in the US are sporadic. There are many more tollways in the Eastern Half of the US than the Western Half. The few tollways there are out west are Bridges, such as the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Tacoma, Washington. However, the further east you go the more likely you are to find toll highways.

    Best thing to do is get a good atlas. Most tollways in the US are well marked on maps in a bright green stripe. However, where there is a tollway, there is usually another way to get where you're going.


  4. Default Tolls and Cell Phones..

    In general I agree with Arizona Brad. Toll roads are much more common in the Eastern half of the US than the western. The most common type of toll is at a bridge. There are some toll roads in the central and western US though. I know of 3 in Southern California, and one in British Columbia from driving on them in the last year or so. However, as a general rule of thumb, there are usually alternative routes which are free -- but slower and sometimes a much longer distance.

    And one thing which I've seen in the west, but not elsewhere in the country are "limited access toll lanes". These are special lanes on a freeway which are only accessible to people with special transponders on your car -- In rush hour, if you have the transponder, you can drive on the lane but pay a toll (typically like $2-3), which can cut 30 minutes out of your trip each way. A sensor reads the transponder and it gets debited against your credit card. If you don't have the transponder, the toll operator automatically photographs your license plate and you get a ticket mailed to you to pay. If you don't pay the ticket, it goes on your drivers license as an unpaid traffic ticket, and if memory serves you can't renew your license... What's funky about this, if that there is NO way to pay if you get in these lanes without the transponder.... But I only know of one of these "limited access toll lanes" (the 91 freeway in California between Anaheim and Corona, through the Santa Ana River canyon). Most other places have a toll plaza as well as accepting a transponder.

    If you have a 3rd Gen cell phone (aka PCS type phone) linked up with a US cell company (check with your UK provder to make sure you have coverage in the US), then in general coverage in the US is pretty good. If you stay on the major roads (such as the US interstate system) you'll have coverage 99% of the time. If you get off into remote areas on small secondary roads -- you may not have coverage unless you're near a town or other civilized area.

    As a couple of examples, here's the coverage map for Verizon which you can select voice and text, or broadband wireless, or whatnot.

    Here's the coverage map for AT&T

    Here's the coverage map for Sprint

  5. Default

    Thanks all, your very rapid responses are most helpful and much appreciated.

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