TCU is ranked No. 1.
No, we’re not talking about the latest college football poll. (The AP preseason poll has the Horned Frogs in seventh place.)
We’re talking TollTags.
Texas Christian University is by far the most popular specialized TollTag being sold by the North Texas Tollway Authority. It is outselling the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Texas A&M and all others.
20,918 TCU TollTags sold since December 2013.
The popularity of the simple purple windshield sticker adorned with the white serif acronym “TCU” may be a bit surprising to North Texas commuters. Consider this: TCU’s hometown, Fort Worth, didn’t even have its own toll road until May 2014, when the 28-mile Chisholm Trail Parkway opened.
Most of the tollway authority’s roads, including the Dallas North Tollway and President George Bush Turnpike, are in the Dallas area. And, although 15 specialty TollTags are for sale, most motorists prefer the generic orange TollTag featuring a black letter T in a circle.
TollTags may also be used on the many managed toll lanes on Metroplex freeways, including North Tarrant Express in Northeast Tarrant County, the DFW Connector in Grapevine and LBJ Express in Dallas.
15 specialty tags offered
The TCU TollTag has been for sale since December 2013. The tollway authority now offers 15 specialty TollTags, including a Texas Rangers baseball TollTag that was launched in April.
“The Rangers TollTag is the top selling TollTag this summer, but TCU is the top selling TollTag of all time,” Kim Jackson, tollway authority spokeswoman, told the Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition during the group’s meeting this week.
Specialty TollTags typically cost about $20-$23, although the tollway authority occasionally runs specials. For example, a Southern Methodist University TollTag is available for free for a limited time.
Why selling so well
Possible reasons why TCU’s TollTag is selling so well:
- TCU got off to a running start. When Chisholm Trail Parkway opened, several thousand prospective customers signed up for a new TollTag account, and for several months the tollway authority offered the TCU tag for free. (It is now available for $19.99.) Many of those new customers in the Fort Worth and Cleburne areas chose the TCU tag rather than the generic orange TollTag.
- Specialty TollTags are a relatively new feature, and they make up only about 1 percent of the more than 4 million TollTag accounts in the Metroplex. Many toll road customers who might be inclined to place a University of Texas, Dallas Mavericks or other specialty TollTag on their windshield probably already have the generic orange sticker — and may not be motivated to spend the money and make a change.
- Even though TCU is a relatively small university, with only about 10,300 fulltime undergraduates, the school is extremely popular among residents of Fort Worth (population 793,000). The city’s downtown buildings are sometimes lighted purple, especially during football season, and city leaders once even tried to dye the Trinity River purple.
- North Texas likes winners — and TCU is a perennial football favorite. Go Frogs!
Most popular TollTags
There are 4,075,015 active TollTags on car owners’ windshields, according to the North Texas Tollway Authority. The overwhelming majority of TollTags are the generic version featuring the orange sticker with a black, encircled letter T.
Specialty stickers typically cost $20-23. Here are the number of specialty stickers sold, with the date they became available in parenthesis:
- TCU - 20,918 (December 2013)
- Dallas Cowboys - 14,154 (2011)
- SMU - 7,091 (fall 2014)
- Dallas Stars - 1,474 (May 2015)
- University of Texas - 1,366 (September 2015)
- Texas Rangers - 1,181 (April 2016)
- Texas A&M - 984 (October 2015)
- Texas Tech - 918 (October 2015)
- Dallas Mavericks - 689 (July 2015)
- Baylor - 675 (October 2015)
- Oklahoma - 567 (October 2015)
- University of North Texas - 306 (October 2015)
- Oklahoma State - 214 (October 2015)
Source: North Texas Tollway Authority