The change is part of a statewide plan to go totally cashless on the Kansas Turnpike
In case you have experienced it, here’s a heads up. If you enter the Kansas Turnpike at the new east Kellogg entry, you don’t get a ticket and when you exit the new southbound east Kellogg exit, you’re don’t have to pay. Well, you don’t pay immediately, but believe me, they’ll catch up with you to pay.
It’s a new system that’s catching a lot of drivers by surprise. Before you know it, you’re on the exit – or off – without any toll-paying interaction. No ticket is given and no ticket is taken away.
It’s part of a news cashless system that will be system-wide on the Kansas Turnpike in 2024, but for now, Wichita is the first cashless location in the state, and the Wichita exits are kind of a hybrid system says Rachel Bell, director of business services and customer relations for the Kansas Turnpike Authority.
For now, if you get on at the cashless gate, when you exit, go to the pay lane, tell them where you got on and they’ll tell you how much you owe. Don’t go through the K-Tag exit if you don’t have one. In that case, you’ll receive a violation letter in the mail.
If you get off at the cashless exit (exit 53A off southbound I-35), you have 10 days to pay online at www.paykta.com. On the website, search for your license plate number and pay the toll, which is the same as the regular cash toll rate.If you go online too quickly, your trip may not have been processed, but you can sign up to receive an email and/or a text notification when your trip post.
If you don’t pay the ticket within 10 days, a statement is mailed to you and you’re charged at a higher rate for the trip. So far, Bell says the rate of payment at the exit has been about 90%, helped by the fact that about 70% of cars using the exit are equipped with K-tags.
Conversion to Totally Cashless
Bell says KTA has been working on transitioning to a totally cashless system for about eight years and travelers on the turnpike will begin to see the visible result of their planning on the road this summer. Beginning in May, the authority will start constructing the new cashless system with the erection of the “gantries” that go over the top of the road. Construction of the cashless system will continue through 2023 however the system can’t go live until construction of the cashless system is completed along the whole length of the turnpike.
“There will be a point in time that you will see all this equipment, but it won’t be live,” said Bell. “We can’t flip the switch unit every piece is in place.”
KTA expects the cashless system to go live sometime in 2024, but at this point, the authority doesn’t have a specific date.
The cashless system functions by reading your license plate and the bill is sent to — and is the responsibility of — the individual to who the car is registered, and not the individual who is driving the car.
When the system goes live, individuals won’t be required to have a K-Tag, but frequent users of the turnpike will likely find it more convenient than going online to pay their tolls. In addition, the toll K-Tag users are charged is currently lower than the ticketed rate and will remain lower in the cashless system.
Bell says the authority’s motivation for moving to a cashless system is about improved customer service and safety. Obviously, the cashless system is faster for drivers, but keeping all drivers proceeding at the same pace increases the overall safety of the system, says Bell.
“We don’t want a 60 mile per hour car next to a stopped car. So anytime you can you can level out the playing field of speed, the better,” Bell says.
KTA also expects some cash savings from switching to the cashless system.