Pensacola Beach Reopening: Here’s How The Cashless Tolls Work

April 30, 2020

[Updated] Headed to Pensacola Beach after it reopens Friday? Don’t forget the new all-electronic tolling system on Bob Sikes Bridge to Pensacola Beach went live on March 20, which was earlier than anticipated to adhere to social distancing for toll booth workers.

The toll remains $1, but cash and coins are no longer accepted. Revenues from the toll are currently being used to pay for the 2020 bridge rehabilitation project  and the bond payment for the widening of Via De Luna Lane through 2031. Revenues will also go toward a replacement bridge needed in approximately 15 years.

All tolls will be collected electronically. Motorists will use either SunPass, another interoperable transponder or be billed utilizing the toll-by-plate system. Toll-by-plate customers will be charged a $1 toll, plus a monthly $2.50 administrative fee and will receive a bill by mail. Cash can be used at SunPass kiosks to replenish and pay toll-by-plate invoices.

There are many ways to get to Pensacola Beach. Transponders are available at the Santa Rosa Island Authority and any retailer where SunPass and E-Pass are available. Other options for passes include the NC Quick PassPeach Pass and tolling apps such as PayTollo.

SunPass

With SunPass, the $1 toll will automatically deduct from your prepaid account when you pass through the Bob Sikes toll plaza.

Simply drive through without slowing down.

Without Sunpass, tThe toll will still be $1 each time you pass through the toll plaza, plus a $2.50 administrative fee that is charged each billing cycle. No matter the number of trips you take to the beach, you will only be charged the administration fee once per billing cycle.

Get your SunPass® transponder:

  • Step one: Purchase online at www.SunPass.com or in person at the SRIA office, a tollbooth window or retail outlets including Publix, CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. For a full list, visit https://www.sunpass.com/sunPassRetailers.
  • Step two: Activate at www.sunpass.com or by calling 888-865-5352.
  • Step three: Load funds into a prepaid account or enroll in the SunPass Automatic Easy Pay at www.sunpass.com, or by calling 888-865-5352 and using a credit or debit card. Customers may also replenish with cash by visiting any of thousands of retail locations statewide. For a complete list of locations, visit www.sunpass.com/cashReplenishment.
  • Step four: Drive to Pensacola Beach!

Please note that a SunPass Mini transponder costs a one-time fee of about $5 and SunPass requires a minimum opening balance of $10 for a personal account. If your overall SunPass account balance decreases to $0 or below, your SunPass is no longer active and neither is your Annual Pass if you have one. You must carry at least a $10 balance on your overall SunPass account balance in order to purchase or renew an Annual Pass.

Pensacola Beach Annual Pass

The Pensacola Beach Annual Pass integrated with SunPass® provides frequent beach goers and Pensacola Beach residents a true 365-day pass for the Bob Sikes Bridge, providing unlimited passage for one full year from the date of purchase.

Need assistance or have questions? Contact Escambia County’s customer service office located in the Santa Rosa Island Authority office at 850-916-5421.

How to get your Pensacola Beach Annual Pass:

Step one: Purchase a SunPass transponder

Step two: Enroll in the Pensacola Beach Annual Pass program

  • Online
  • In person: Visit the Santa Rosa Island Authority office.

Note:  A SunPass transponder must be purchased and activated before participating in the Pensacola Beach Annual Pass program. Once the SunPass transponder has been purchased, it may take two to four hours before you are then able to purchase a Pensacola Beach Annual Pass. The Pensacola Beach Annual Pass is only valid for the Bob Sikes Bridge toll plaza.

How much is a Pensacola Beach Annual Pass?

  • Effective May 1, 2017 - Pensacola Beach Annual Passes are $20 per year for public annual passes and $70 per year for commercial annual passes (all vehicles displaying any commercial markings or advertising, including magnetic or rooftop signs, or vehicles owned by a commercial business).
  • Homestead residents are allowed up to two $5 Pensacola Beach Annual Passes, and you must visit the Santa Rosa Island Authority Office, located at 1 Via De Luna Drive on Pensacola Beach. To be a homestead resident, you must obtain the designation of your primary residence on Pensacola Beach from the Escambia County Property Appraiser’s Office. Beach residents must bring a proof of homestead exemption from the property tax office when going to purchase an annual pass. To be a homestead resident, you must live 50%+ of your time during a year at primary residence on Pensacola Beach. Please note, these passes are available for two-axle non-commercial vehicles only.

Comments

47 Responses to “Pensacola Beach Reopening: Here’s How The Cashless Tolls Work”

  1. sarcastic on June 27th, 2020 9:10 am

    Finally got my SunPass. It’s simple:
    - spend $20 for a SunPass device at a store
    - Go to web site. Provide:
    – log in id
    – strong password
    – invoice # from bill by plate
    – tag #
    – security question/answer challenge
    – personal identification # (PIN)
    – transponder #
    – Credit or debit card giving the state access to your bank account
    (account, expiration date, security code)
    INSTEAD OF:
    – handing over a dollar like it used to be.

  2. Lee on May 30th, 2020 9:19 pm

    So if we were visiting from another state and driving a rental vehicle how would we pay? We don’t want the rental car company to be billed and then bill us triple the amount. Is there another way to pay it online?

  3. Donna Goolsby on May 3rd, 2020 11:52 am

    I have 2 transponders for my vehicles. I was surprised I get a statement in the mail, and there’s a $1.50 charge every time, why isn’t this discloses? I don’t need a statement! I thought it would only take $1. Isn’t this another hidden fee? Just curious.

  4. jj on May 1st, 2020 11:19 am

    revenues go towards a new bridge in 15 years???? why do you need a whole replacement bridge in 15 years??. what a bunch of bull!! if that’s true than should’ve left up old bridge, this means a crap company built this bridge and expect problems.

  5. Jim on May 1st, 2020 11:10 am

    I see everyone just LOVES this new money grab…. lol

  6. Old enough on May 1st, 2020 10:21 am

    You are all missing the big picture. When the county took over the bridge from the state, the first thing they did was double the toll. They said this was to go to a fund to provide maintenance and funds for the bridge replacement. The bridge has not been maintained and the county has had the bridge examined and they have been told it has to.be replaced AND WILL NOT LAST ANOTHER 15 YEARS. You have to ask them ( the commisioners) where the money went. You will be shocked if they ever come clean and reveal what the money was wasted on.

  7. Doug on May 1st, 2020 9:29 am

    If you’re super stingy and don’t like the toll for Pensacola beach, just drive through Navarre beach, it’s all connected anyways

  8. Michelle on May 1st, 2020 8:13 am

    Come on people…it is the same amount everybody was paying before, except now you pay an extra $2.50 once a month! Big deal! You spend more than that on 1 drink! I will gladly pay it to enjoy the beautiful beach!

  9. Jeff on May 1st, 2020 1:45 am

    Good grief, get over it. It’s $1.00 per trip plus a one time $2.50 processing charge per month. And you get to keep your dollar for a whole month before you must pay it. Not to mention how much smoother traffic flows without dealing with the toll booths.

  10. Suzie B on May 1st, 2020 12:34 am

    @Troy – The pay by plate will be the way someone from out of state will pay if they don’t have SunPass. . Once you go through, your tag is photographed and they then get your tag info for billing. They will send a bill by mail for $3.50 if you only go over once. Basically, it’s a $2.50 monthly maintenance fee plus the $1.00 toll. If you go again within the same month, they will only add an additional $1.00 charge for each time you go through. The $2.50 isn’t billed again within the same billing period/month. Hope that helps. Many locals wanted to keep ONE cash lane but it seemed like it was brought up over and over and finally it was decided by higher ups to go cashless.

  11. Suzie B on April 30th, 2020 10:23 pm

    Thanks for the great info being shared to explain it better. The lady I spoke with about the beach pass for $20 said the $5 Sun Pass transponder is the only one that will work and MUST remain on a single vehicle. You must pay the $10 activation plus the $20 for the beach pass. So, roughly $35 for UNLIMITED beach use for the year, no additional funds needed until renewal one year later. IF you purchase another vehicle however, the $5 and $10 fee must once again be paid for the new Sun Pass transponder. Changing to a new vehicle or having a new tag issued costs $$. The $19.99 on will not work with that annual pass. However, you can solely use Sun Pass which can be used in other areas of Florida and some areas in other states instead. Whether we like it or not, things have changed. Just WATCH your billing with Sun Pass Most people have no issues but there are still some very negative stories. Good luck to all.

  12. Tom Jones on April 30th, 2020 10:09 pm

    To poor people and teenagers just wanting to hang out at the beach the toll is another cost they can’t afford. Quit nickel and diming the taxpayer and stop with the toll. It was done with the Navarre bridge and it can be done with the Pensacola Beach bridge.

  13. Troy on April 30th, 2020 9:59 pm

    How does an out of state person pay that is literally going to cross one time???

  14. Dave & Kim on April 30th, 2020 7:52 pm

    Too much hassle and money for too few trips. Don’t use Garcon bidge for the same reasons. Bye P’beach.

  15. David ward on April 30th, 2020 7:37 pm

    I think its ripoff ,I only go to beach maybe 2r3 times during summer on my bike with friends pay $1 and that’s it .now you telling me its gonna cost me $1 plus$ 3.99 ,that $5 one time at beach to eat at Hooters or any where….I think yall made enough money off that toll pass ..in last 40yrs u can built 10 new bridges….just another way to RIP off the hard working people so you politicians can get rich
    ….

  16. Vicki on April 30th, 2020 6:21 pm

    Scott Lunsford, I checked your link and there isn’t anything there for an annual pass. What’s up with that?

  17. Scott Lunsford on April 30th, 2020 3:49 pm

    Rufus Lowgun

    Our web page http://www.escambiataxcollector.com is defaulted to No-Fee eCheck payment. With eCheck, you will never pay a processing fee, period. We routinely have the largest number of online, no-fee transactions out of 28 Florida counties using the same vendor. Our vendor is not bragging, we are.

    Credit card companies charge a service fee for each card processed. In retail, the fees are hidden in the purchase price. In government, we must collect the full taxable amount and the required service fee to comply with Florida statute. Citizens have to choose to pay by credit card and the full fees are disclosed, up front. As tax collector, I have routinely rejected price increases and have held vendors to their contract pricing and will continue to do so.

    With the cost of postage, stationary, set-up and printing paid on the front end, an online transaction is not a cost reduction, rather a cost avoidance. Our largest expense is personnel. We currently staff five drive in windows, and a minimum of eight express lines daily, just to process transactions that are available online. Avoiding the cost of bank teller machines and daily staffing would make a huge impact on our budget.

    I have worked hard to operate your tax collector office as a business. By cutting costs, pushing technology, reducing operating expenses, promoting online payments and controlling spending is a clear benefit to the taxpayer. By signing up for electronic property tax billing and making your payment online with our No-Fee eCheck option, you help us reduce government spending.

    Scott Lunsford

  18. Jason on April 30th, 2020 3:33 pm

    The transponder is $5.00, for sunpass which is good for all toll systems in Florida people then if you go to the Santa Rosa Island Authority website it costs $20 a year to go to the beach. $20 a year is about what you spend at one meal at McDonald’s for 2 people in one visit. It really isn’t a bad deal and the pay by plate if you choose that route is $2.50 a month, of the month you go and $1.00 a visit. So $3.50 for one visit or $32.50 if you went every day instead of the original price of $30.00 for 30 visits to the beach. It is not a ripoff if you choose not to go to the beach then dont go. There are other routes aka through Navarre and back which is free, except what you burn in gas, or at Johnson’s beach oh yeah visitors pass of about i believe $7.00 pass for a week. You can also choose to go to Perdido Key, also what you spend in gas and food and drinks to save your $2.50 or you can accept change and move on. If your local buy the Sunpass window sticker and the annual fee it isn’t that ridiculous if you think about it. So if $2.50 a month will keep you from supporting Pensacola beach local businesses and soaking up sun, getting a Bushwhacker or frozen drink, Papa’s Pizza, Peg Legs Seafood, Hooters wings, the Gulf pier for Fishing, and family fun then maybe you should go somewhere else and try to find somewhere for cheaper entertainment, I don’t think you will in the long run.
    Pensacola may be America’s oldest city but it still has to keep up with growth and change in America…

  19. J.Larry Seale on April 30th, 2020 3:09 pm

    The Pensacola Beach bridge has been a
    “cash cow” for more that 20 years.Take the
    toll down….

  20. Lew Attardo on April 30th, 2020 2:42 pm

    Oh for God’s Sake people, it’s one of the cheapest entertainment deals you’ll ever find. But, instead of whining about the toll, with a cost equivalent to about 1 drink, or 1/3 the cost of a movie ticket, and less than the cover charge to get into Seville Quarter, please, we’re begging you, …just don’t go to Pensacola Beach anymore.

    We’ll miss you! Nevermind, …no we won’t…

  21. Jim on April 30th, 2020 1:46 pm

    I can see people getting upset over the electronic visiting feed $3.50. I don’t know the manpower cost of processing all those vehicles. If the county could give a breakdown of that cost that may help. For visitors…they will probably spend a lot more while at the beach and $3.50 is probably insignificant compare to what they spend. That said…even though the $2.50 is only for each month…the bridge is PAID Already..and for people to pay 3 1/2 times the previous fee is pathetic and no subservering organization should not raise rates w/o a vote etc. I love the beach areas and will pay it for sunning,swimming, fishing and restaurants and a box of bait even cost way more…deal with it or get it changed

  22. Colonel Richard S Glover USMC (Ret.) on April 30th, 2020 1:36 pm

    I use to live there many years ago. Had to flee too many hurricanes. Now when I visit with family and friends, we stay 6 or 7 days, and maybe hit the beach twice during that vacation. With that information, how would we need to cough up for a brief visit to the beach? WORD TO ESCAMBIA VOTERS: if your are not happy with your ESCAMBIA County Commissioners that you voted in, then remember, you can also VOTE them OUT!

  23. Andrew on April 30th, 2020 1:34 pm

    You guys are a bit ridiculous complaining about the fee to get over the bridge. It’s $1 and 2.50 per month. Not 3.50 per visit. I’ve been using toll by plate for awhile now since they announced it last year and have yet to be charged the $2.50 so I don’t know what that’s about. EITHER WAY it’s not an excessive toll. Chill out and go enjoy the beach.

  24. Judy on April 30th, 2020 1:31 pm

    Goodbye Pensacola Beach!!!!

  25. Senior Citizen on April 30th, 2020 1:28 pm

    Good bye Pensacola Beach!!!

  26. proudarmyparent on April 30th, 2020 1:24 pm

    Can you say “RIP OFF”?

  27. Fred on April 30th, 2020 1:24 pm

    Scam. The real money grab is from fines on people who never even knew they received a charge.

  28. Roger Rockwell on April 30th, 2020 1:21 pm

    I guess its back to going to Johnson beach for me. I only went about once every 6 or 7 weeks so that would be about $4 per trip. Santa Rosa County did the right thing and did away with the toll completely. I’m going to miss Peg Leg Pete’s and Frisky Dolphin. Businesses are going to miss out.

  29. Granny on April 30th, 2020 12:48 pm

    Thank you North Escambia for getting all the news to us. I read all the posts daily. Lot of information. And I will add a lot of entertainment because of all the comments on most stories. The comments are kinda like comic strips. Anyway, keep the news coming. Great job!!! By the way. Buy a transponder. Buy a beach pass. Or don’t. Whatever. I’ve lived here all my life and this is simply the way things are done now folks. It’s called change, deal with it.

  30. Harry Noel on April 30th, 2020 12:05 pm

    We where planning a trip to Pensacola beach, if we decide on going we will stay on the beach and no money will be spent in Pensacola. . 3.50 per use is shameful. This was a tourist friendly area. Not now.

  31. Kristi on April 30th, 2020 11:51 am

    All you have to do is purchase a $5 transponder and they don’t charge the $2.50 fee. If you put more than one of your vehicles on the transponder, do they all benefit from the annual pass or just the one with the transponder?

  32. Wanda on April 30th, 2020 11:39 am

    I see Pure Greed at work! For shame! Already pulling in a bundle and Want more! Not even a break for Seniors and Escambia County residents!? That’s just wrong….p.s. Will miss your friendly embassador s( toll workers) to the beach! Til you change your ways I’ll take my dollars elsewhere!

  33. Debra cooper on April 30th, 2020 11:37 am

    I will go to Perdido Key to much of a problem to get u on Pensacola Beach The keys are very nice no crazy fees

  34. tg on April 30th, 2020 11:29 am

    Bridge has been paid for many years make beach FREE.

  35. Debbie Casalinuovo on April 30th, 2020 11:17 am

    That is just wrong. $3.50 just to take a trip to the beach and most of the time I dont stay longer than 3 hours…Smh…maybe its time to look for different beach to go to

  36. Read the article on April 30th, 2020 11:14 am

    Just as a reminder, the beach toll used to be 35 cent and when the bridge was paid for, the toll was going to be lifted. Well that didn’t happen and we have been paying $1 for quite some time now. I have moved past that and accepted that we all have to pay a buck to enjoy our beautiful beach. For those of you that didn’t read the article, First – you can ALWAYS buy a SUNPASS for a one time purchase of $5 and load it. I would advise this method if you aren’t a frequent beach goer and don’t want to pay the admin fee. Second – the $2.50 admin fee is a MONTHLY fee. If you go through the gate 10 times a month, it is only 12.50 not $3.50 each time. Lastly, buy a yearly pass for $20 – that is your discount for living close enough to go when you want. Folks, it is a way to keep the beach traffic moving. No one enjoys being behind the tourist that has to get his wallet out or look for change to pay the $1 toll. This will get us all on the beach quicker.

  37. Jeff on April 30th, 2020 10:45 am

    Why should you have to keep a $10 balance on the pass…so you can have that lil bit extra for your pocketbooks???
    And why dont you just say the annual pass is $80 instead of 70 since ur required to keep $10 on it before you pay the $70 annual pass fee…..gotta keep stealing/taxing for using public lands

  38. Richard on April 30th, 2020 9:39 am

    if you are an infrequent visitor to the beach then the toll is $3.50 not $1.00.

  39. Steve on April 30th, 2020 9:20 am

    So no discount for the people who live here, or where born here? It wouldn’t be hard since you take our license plate # and send the bill to our homes. I wish I had a job where I could sit on my ass and find ways to get more money out of everyone. How about a break for our seniors. No wonder people don’t like or trust the government reps.

  40. tg on April 30th, 2020 9:02 am

    Make the beach a Gated Community. Vote in new comisioners.

  41. John Winski on April 30th, 2020 8:54 am

    So, the politicians turned a simple pay as you go beach toll into a rub joint scam! I feel for the merchants and restaurants. $3.50 for the ocasional visitor? How about a politician tax!

  42. Mike on April 30th, 2020 8:11 am

    Folks, get a transponder for $5 and stop complaining. Those who say good buy to the beach because of extra $2.5 a month – not every single time you go there – good riddance.

  43. Morton Vice on April 30th, 2020 8:06 am

    This is the plan that our commissioners came up with. As a local, once again thanks for poor planning.

  44. Rufus Lowgun on April 30th, 2020 7:53 am

    The inadvisability of reopening the beaches this soon aside, shouldn’t the fact that the SRIA will no longer be employing people to collect tolls at the toll booths and thus are saving the funds necessary to pay those salaries offset the ridiculous “administration fee” of $2.50 a month we’re all going to be charged? That makes as much sense as the Escambia County Tax Collector charging you a fee for you to pay your property taxes online. Why am I paying the SRIA and the Escambia County Tax Collector MORE money for something that costs them LESS money?

  45. billy on April 30th, 2020 7:37 am

    Goodbye Pbeach

  46. Marc cayson on April 30th, 2020 7:19 am

    I guess the beach residents are slowly getting what they want. Only residents allowed to the beach. A place that makes it big money off of tourists making this cashless toll to what draws them is absolutely a stupid idea

  47. Kate on April 30th, 2020 7:09 am

    Great, as locals who support the beach businesses year round, we pay 2 and 1/2 times more than people from out of town. Great job Commissioners, great job.





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