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Bestpass, Drivewyze collaborating on toll processing as part of ‘driver experience’

Transportation data companies Bestpass and Drivewyze are coming together in a partnership to offer Bestpass’ capabilities in tolling information in conjunction with the various offerings of Drivewyze, which go beyond the latter’s core business of weigh station bypass.

The agreement between the two companies does not have a name nor is it a new product. But at its center will be an integration of the companies’ capabilities in various product offerings, while also allowing for more seamless onboarding. 

In an interview with FreightWaves, Bestpass CEO Tom Fogarty and Drivewyze CEO Brian Heath, who is also the company founder, laid out how each of the companies can benefit from the partnership, which is being launched Wednesday.

In particular, to understand the benefits, they start with what Bestpass does: take a fleet’s tolling requirements, which can be incredibly complex, and manage them for their customers. Fleets that make up Bestpass’ customer pool, according to Fogarty, might be “coast-to-coast” transportation companies or can service an area where their trucks rarely travel more than 50 miles from a home base yet still may deal with tolls. 

“Toll management is such a nightmare,” Fogarty said, “being able to get the information you need, to rebill it to the customers and to make sure the tolls are truly yours.” It also comes with allocating tolls to correct cost centers after the toll validation. It all adds up to “a huge headache for fleets.”

The product offerings for Bestpass come from not only collecting data from the transponders installed in the fleets using Bestpass but also from the relationships the company has with state tolling authorities. Fogarty said those relationships exist with all 50 states and cover more than 99% of roads, bridges, tunnels and other facilities that have tolls.

Bestpass’ relationships with state tolling authorities are helped by the fact, as Fogarty said, that the hard data its system produces means that “we take the service calls off their plate” from fleet operators challenging individual toll findings. He put that number at about 100,000 per year. 

“If you want to get your tolls in a report [from an entity such as EZ Pass], you have to download it and effectively scrape their website every day to get their information,” Fogarty said, noting that Bestpass’ system takes care of that. 

According to Fogarty and Heath, what that toll report can do with the collaboration between the two companies is use the Drivewyze data to help provide what Heath called “truth” to any need to challenge a toll report that is inaccurate. Fogarty said Bestpass now finds incorrect information with about 5% of the company’s toll data supplied by tolling agencies.

Concurrently, Drivewyze is launching a service that will generate toll reports based on data Drivewyze already has from when a truck enters or departs a tolled area. Noncustomers of Drivewyze can still access that data through Drivewyze partnerships with telematics companies, like an ELD service.

“The toll report leverages the same GPS-based in-cab software that Drivewyze uses to provide in-cab alerts and which currently lets fleets see back-office data on where their trucks are encountering weigh stations and hazardous road areas,” Doug Johnson, Drivewyze’s director of marketing, said in an email to FreightWaves.

In the interview, Heath spoke several times of “the driver experience.” The new toll report offering from Drivewyze does not provide all the services that Bestpass does. But what Drivewyze executives told FreightWaves in a follow-up email is that by bringing Bestpass and Drivewyze together, they believe that “driver experience” can be enhanced. 

“What our partnership with Bestpass brings to the market, aside from the toll trip report, is a whole-of-customer strategic approach,” Drivewyze said in its emailed statement. Combining the bypass and safety notification offerings of Drivewyze with the Bestpass toll payment services “can help a fleet get up and running with smooth onboarding, excellent service and an outstanding driver experience — whether they are an existing Drivewyze customer adding or switching to the Bestpass toll service, an existing Bestpass toll customer adding or switching to Drivewyze for weigh station bypass or a customer that is adding or switching to both.”

While Fogarty described the Bestpass data as “highly accurate,” the combination between the two companies will enable the Bestpass toll report to utilize Drivewyze’s “edge processing.” According to the companies’ announcement of the partnership, edge processing produces “more detailed GPS cookie data, to collect highly accurate toll road entry and exit events that fleets can use as a source of data when investigating violations, over-charging and fraud incidents.”

The GPS cookies in the existing Bestpass system transmit data as much as every 15 minutes, but the edge computing in Drivewyze speeds that up considerably, Fogarty said.

That higher-level GPS cookie data means “the device itself knows exactly when the device passes the toll entry or exit point,” according to Heath. “That makes it a lot easier to go ahead and compare an event that occurred with your transponder and what occurred using GPS data.” 

The transponders that are now at the heart of the Bestpass product will remain. In the prepared statement announcing the collaboration between the two companies, Heath said they are “excited to improve upon the transponder-only foundation of toll management with these features. Toll payment will still utilize transponders, but our collaboration adds value for trucking companies that want to better control their toll costs and improve driver toll road experiences.” 

Heath said in the interview, “Our customers have been asking for a solution to these tolls problems for the better part of five years. We’ve been waiting for the right partner.”

Fogarty said discussions between Brighpass and Drivewyze “got serious about six months ago,” with a “real heavy collaborative period the last several months.”

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