COVID-19 has been a sweeping accelerator for technology adoption across the transportation industry. In the tolling industry specifically, this is seen through the implementation of all-electronic systems and toll-by-plate transactions.
But before COVID-19, tech company Bestpass spent a decade consolidating more than 40 U.S. tolling agencies into a unified call center to simplify toll management for carriers. Bestpass operates under the assumption that fleets often have little idea how much time and money they spend on tolls. But the cost is significant, and Bestpass brings visibility to that pain point.
“If you can imagine having to fill your wallet with 50 different credit cards in order to have dinner in the various 50 states, that’s very impractical,” said John Andrews, chief strategy officer and president of Bestpass. “Your wallet would be very large. What Bestpass is doing from a tolling point of view is taking all the devices in the window and all the billing statements and creating a single network with a single device that you can go anywhere in the country with.”
Andrews joined Bestpass over a decade ago when the company had only four employees. Because of the niche services Bestpass provides, it’s seen tremendous year-over-year growth and today boasts 100 employees, 10,000 customers and more than 630,000 toll transponders on the road. In 2019, Bestpass processed over $1 billion of toll volume — one-25th of the tolling industry’s entire revenue.
Once drivers register with Bestpass, the company has access to license plate and vehicle information — data that tolling agencies also need. By partnering with Bestpass, tolling agencies can access this data at a much cheaper price than it would cost to contact each individual state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to check the vehicle’s registration.
The job of fleet managers, company drivers and owner-operators is not to manage tolls; it’s to deliver goods and services from point A to point B. Bestpass simplifies tolling, so those drivers and fleet managers can focus on the core business.
“We provide value to the drivers by managing their toll by ensuring they are set up properly, configured properly and are set to hit the roads in the best way possible,” said Senior VP of Product Growth Heather Nolan, who joined Bestpass in 2009.
To enhance the customer-service experience for drivers and fleet managers, Bestpass recently added Cost Centers to its customer web portal, where fleets can manage their back-office and administrative data.
Bestpass also just released two new transponder products for commercial fleets. Complete Pass Scout provides nationwide toll coverage, while Horizon Scout optimizes toll coverage for regional fleets.
Even with an all-electronic toll-by-plate system, transponders remain the best option for any driver who travels the toll roads on a regular basis.
“Transponder-based toll is the most cost-effective for the tolling authorities and they pass that savings through to the customer, ensuring that the transponder toll is the most cost-effective for them as well,” said Nolan.
What does the future hold for tolling revenue? Andrews said the industry plans to expand tolling in states in which it currently operates as well as bring tolling to more states. “I don’t see us slowing down,” said Andrews. “There’s plenty of opportunities, needs and issues to solve for everybody.”