New Jersey highways taking gamblers to Atlantic City are going the fully cashless route, similar to the transition made with casino slot machines from coins to cards.
No matter which way Atlantic City casino visitors decide to travel – planes, trains or automobiles – visitors shouldn’t bring any nickels, dimes or quarters.
E-ZPass, which has been available since 1998, provides discounts on the Atlantic City Expressway tolls.
The cashless system accounted for 87% of motorist toll transactions in 2023, according to the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA), which operates the expressway.
The new fully cashless system is expected to go into effect in 2024 and 2025, depending on which road you take.
It’s also expected to reduce traffic accidents, many of which have happened in recent years at the concrete toll booth structures just outside of Atlantic City.
Changes coming to New Jersey tolls to Atlantic City
According to a 2023 SJTA report, an estimated 47 million motorists used the Expressway in 2022 with 6.3 million of them paying cash tolls.
The existing ramp toll booths will be demolished, according to the SJTA, and message boards and traffic cameras will be installed.
Toll equipment gantries will be built along the entire length of the expressway so that after the Expressway goes fully cashless, customers without an E-ZPass account will receive a “bill-by-plate” invoice, rather than paying cash.
New Jersey breaks ground on cashless toll system
New Jersey highway transportation officials plan a transition to an all-electronic toll system on the Atlantic City Expressway by summer 2025.
The SJTA announced the nearly $80 million all-electronic toll project last year. The project is the first all-electronic toll collection system and may be the model to be used elsewhere in the state.
Stephen F. Dougherty, executive director of the SJTA, said during a ceremonial groundbreaking in October that the cashless system represented progress and safety.
Dougherty, US Rep. Donald Norcross and Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, were among the officials who used shovels to toss some dirt during a 2023 ceremonial groundbreaking for the electronic toll system.
SJTA approved a $159.3 million contract for TransCore LP of Nashville, Tennessee, to build and manage the tolling system, which is expected to be a 15-year project.
A May 2025 start is anticipated for the Expressway’s new tolling system.
New system believed to create more safety on highways
Another part of the SJTA plan to streamline the Expressway calls for the removal of concrete barrier plazas in Hamilton Township and Pleasantville, which have been the sites of fiery vehicle crashes.
Officials with the SJTA believe the new system will provide better safety for motorists traveling from Philadelphia to the South Jersey shore.
The Expressway speed limit, set at 65 miles per hour for the entire 44.19-mile stretch, is expected to remain the same after the Expressway goes fully cashless.
Expressway tolls increased by 3% on Jan. 1. That added revenue expects to cover the cost of the cashless improvements by generating $500 million.
It now costs $4.70 per car going through Egg Harbor, the largest expressway toll plaza to Atlantic City. It costs $3.01 for E-ZPass users at the same toll.
Cashless system also coming to Garden State Parkway
In 2022, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority approved a $914 million contract – also with the same company, TransCore in Nashville – to install all-electronic cashless tolls on the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike.
A start date for the new fully cashless system using E-ZPass only has not been announced by the Turnpike Authority, although E-ZPass is accepted at all toll areas on both highways.
The Garden State Parkway brings motorists to Atlantic City from New York to the north and Delaware and Maryland to the south.
The New Jersey Turnpike, which travels between the northern and southern portions of New Jersey, connects visitors from New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware to other routes that will take them to the Jersey Shore.
Atlantic City already somewhat familiar with cashless payments
Effective Jan. 1, the parking garage at Atlantic City International Airport became fully cashless.
Forms of payment accepted are Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards.
Another option to pay parking fees is E-ZPass Plus. However, visitors using E-ZPass Plus at the airport must enter and exit through a designated E-ZPass-only lane.
The Jan. 1 toll increase also affected the Atlantic City Expressway exit ramps near Atlantic City International Airport which now cost $1.40 or 84 cents via E-ZPass.