The Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group has expanded the availability of Pass24, its prepaid toll service, to Houston after testing it for five months in the Dallas area.

Pass24 is now available at five Dollar Rent A Car and nine Thrifty Car Rental locations at George Bush Intercontinental and Houston Hobby airports. The service also is available to travelers renting Dollar and Thrifty cars at the Dallas-Fort Worth and Dallas Love Field airport

Pass24, according to Dollar Thrifty, is designed to enable drivers to use the express toll lanes, bypassing the cash-only lanes and eliminating the need to carry exact change.

"The prepaid toll collection presents a great time-saving option for our customers," said Jay Foley, Dollar Thrifty's senior executive vice president of corporate operations. "All toll charges are included in the $8.95 per day fee which eliminates the hassle of reconciling separate charges to their credit card after the car is returned."

Rent A Toll, the company that developed the Pass24 system, works in cooperation with local authorities to facilitate the collection of tolls by using video technology that captures images of a car license plate as it passes through an express lane tollbooth.

"We are now aggressively seeking to expand our solution to additional U.S. toll markets," said Rick Welch, President and COO of Rent A Toll.

Meanwhile, Hertz is promoting its own prepaid toll system called PlatePlass.

After testing the system in the New York area, Hertz in December expanded the availability of PlatePass to Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.

The PlatePass system utilizes a small electronic device that electronically pays tolls wherever E-Z Pass is accepted.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Michael Milligan at [email protected].

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