There Must Be Some Way Outta Here?
September 14, 2017 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a way to get out of Boston Logan Airport in a rental car without paying a cashless toll and then activating the rental companies scammy plate pass scheme?

I will be renting a rental car at Logan Airport and driving it to Vermont. Until last year I could just pay a cash toll and be done with it. Now the Mass Pike is cashless toll. If you have a private auto it's a piece of cake. If you have a rental you can use the rental companies PlatePass scheme that charges you $4.95 a day plus the cost of the toll whether or not you actually use a toll on any given day of the rental. There is a max of $26 on the fees but it's still expensive and a ripoff. You can also drive through the toll cameras with PlatePass turned off, have the car's license plate billed and pay an administrative fee of up to $65.

Is there a way out of Logan through East Boston that doesn't involve cashless tunnel tolls? I know about Rte 16 through Medford to Arlington but it's long and somewhat out of the way. Any other alternatives?
posted by Xurando to Travel & Transportation around Boston, MA (12 answers total)
 
So I'm not sure this is the most practical solution, but what I used to do was just bring my own EZ Pass transponder with me when renting cars from Logan. But then I already owned the transponder -- not sure it's worth the hassle of getting one just to do this, but it is an option.
posted by phoenixy at 2:57 PM on September 14, 2017


I inadvertently drove through a cashless toll bridge in NY last year, without using any transponder, as I don't own one, and I never activated the one in the rental car, only to later learn the fee tacked on as a result was cheaper than using any transponder, mine or theirs. YMMV.
posted by Violet Blue at 3:46 PM on September 14, 2017


I think you can get to route 99 in Everett, but then I think it might just take you to route 16 as you say.
posted by Melismata at 4:22 PM on September 14, 2017


It no doubt depends on where exactly you're trying to go in Vermont, but you might want to try the feature on Google Maps to 'avoid tolls' and see if that route gets you anywhere.
posted by crazy with stars at 4:23 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


You want to take 1A, which meanders around a bit but keeps you away from the Sumner tunnel and its toll. It'll get you onto 93N, and from there you're golden.

On preview, seconding using the "avoid tolls" feature on Google Maps -- that'll give you the 1A directions.
posted by current resident at 4:27 PM on September 14, 2017 [2 favorites]


Take an Uber from the airport to a rental car location elsewhere in the area, and pick up your car from there.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:29 PM on September 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


Not only would NotMyselfRightNow's suggestion enable you to avoid the tolls, but rentals are often significantly cheaper at non-airport locations.
posted by jkent at 4:41 PM on September 14, 2017 [6 favorites]


the waze app has a 'no tolls' feature--you find it in the settings.
posted by calgirl at 5:07 PM on September 14, 2017


Came into say 1A. It's also the quickest way to get out and get going north.
posted by Miko at 7:18 PM on September 14, 2017


I would just hop on the silver line at the airport and rent a car at south station. Or you could uber to Cambridge or Somerville or something, as NotMyselfRightNow suggests. I've done this many times before.

HOWEVER, keep in mind that you might pay a premium for returning to a different place that you rented it, if you are flying back out of Logan.
posted by pazazygeek at 7:30 PM on September 14, 2017


My first thought (after somehow obtaining your own transponder, which seems difficult at best if you don't already have one) was a cab out of the airport, too. I wouldn't count on Uber/Lyft though - that situation is ever-changing, so they might be picking up at the airport again by now, but the last time I needed one, they weren't, because the services were trying to offer flat rates, and between that and a recent increase on taxi fees charged by the airport itself, the drivers were losing money so just wouldn't accept any fares originating at Logan. I think Silver Line's probably a great idea, that's free.
posted by solotoro at 6:11 AM on September 15, 2017


Thought I'd wrap this up with what I ended up doing. I did not use my transponder which I got in NH because you have to link car license plates with the transponder. On the way out I tried to get to Rte. 2 via Rte. 16 and ended up getting lost in Sommerville before I turned on the GPS.

On the way back I went form Rte. 2 to 95/128 to Rte. 1 to Rte. 60 E, to Rte 1A. It was really easy and didn't take that much extra time. Thanks for all the input.
posted by Xurando at 7:12 AM on September 19, 2017


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