Toll Collector

Toll Collector

TollBoothGuy

Brooklyn, NY

Male, 26

I spent just short of five years as a toll collector on the western end of New York State. Ask me anything, but please don't pay me in pennies.

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101 Questions

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Last Answer on March 17, 2017

Best Rated

How does one apply to be a toll collector and what are the qualifications required?

Asked by adrian5 over 5 years ago

I just kept calling the local toll plazas to see if there were openings. I lucked out because there was a civil service test being offered around the time I was inquiring. It contained three sections: vehicle classification, money counting, and totaling up deposit slips. They kept those scores on record and went down the list when it came time to hire. When they ran all the way down the list, they would hire off the street. Sometimes it felt like the only qualification was a warm body. But I suppose other perequisites included 18+, ability to make change without a cash register, customer service experience, etc.

What do toll booth collectors get paid?

Asked by monroe over 5 years ago

Speaking from a part-time position only, I started at 9.36/hour. Five years later I was around the 13-14/hour range. I never exceeded 20k in a year. No health benefits. Under our contract, full-timers received pretty decent benefits from what I gathered and also received first dibs on all overtime opportunities. Becoming full-time was not a frequent opportunity, and almost always came with relocation. I can't give you an exact yearly salary, though.

Did you make an effort to take pride in doing your job well, despite working in a field that most people probably think of as unglamorous?

Asked by samO over 5 years ago

This is a really difficult question for me to answer because honestly, there was very little that I enjoyed about this job and I think that ran over into my work sometimes. I feel that I worked hard, moved traffic as quickly as I could, looked out for my co-workers, and tried to maintain a safe environment for customers and co-workers. But working with people is incredibly exhausting. Especially people that are decidedly NOT happy to see you. I want to tell you I greeted every customer with a smile, that I waved at every child in the backseat, that I took the catcalls from every nook of the car with a good-natured wink. It was hard to hold it together some days but I generally just tried to keep my mouth shut, treat people in a straightforward manner, and make the whole toll-paying experience as much of a non-event as possible.

If someone pulled up to a tollbooth and the car smelled of booze, weed, etc, would you get the license plate number and alert the cops to look for that car on the highway?

Asked by tr3 over 5 years ago

This is a judgement call on the part of the collector. I'm going to assume based on the question that I don't actually observe any booze/weed and if that's the case all I'm going on is my impression of the driver. If something seems off, then I would escalate the situation- better safe than sorry. But, it's also entirely possible that they are just the DD. It's hard to paint these situations with one broad stroke. But if I ever did make the call, I always made sure to observe as much as I could. The more information you can provide, the better. Plate number, vehicle/operator decription, etc...

Every couple of years I hear some news story about a few toll collectors working a lot of overtime and making $100K/yr. Does this really happen?

Asked by benjiboo over 5 years ago

While it is incredibly rare, and would probably take a perfect storm of circumstances, I have heard of this. I can only assume it would entail upwards of 300 16 hour days.

I understand why the booth where cash is handed over needs to be manned by a human, but I can't get my head around the booths at the start of the freeway where a person just hands you the ticket. Why isn't that automated?? Is it a union thing?

Asked by mike over 5 years ago

I knew someone was going to ask this! In our system, there is a vehicle classification system based on both axles on the ground and vehicle height. Cars with nothing in tow pay the least. Trucks with 9 or more axles on the ground pay the most. It is the job of the entry collector to classify each vehicle and print the correct ticket with the right classification on it. Entry collectors get audited much like exit collectors and the total amount of axles that cross the treadle should match the amount on the entry machine. Also, entry collectors have to ensure that oversized vehicles and trucks carrying explosive material are properly permitted. We also turn around any vehicle combinations not adhering to the rules. I have heard that since I left, the process has changed and all vehicles are issued the same 2L ticket (that's a car with nothing in tow) and classified at their exit point. I'm almost certain the end game will be automated entry. Cost efficiency seems to be the name of the game these days.

Are most toll collectors uneducated, unmotivated types, or are there a lot more who were like you than we might expect?

Asked by slowgrind over 5 years ago

I would definitely place myself in the minority in that regard. I certainly did work with some lazy, angry, unintelligent idiots. It's not the type of job that requires a college degree or special skills to speak of so you can imagine the demographics in play. But honestly, most collectors fall pretty much in the middle of those two extremes. There's a lot of interesting stories out there, though. A lot of the older full-timers I worked with came of age in the mid-late seventies who fell into the whole thing by accident. A number of them had college degrees, but the economy was such a wreck at the time that they took the job out of necessity. Once they got a few years in with a decent salary and benefits, it was hard to get out. And there they stood, thirty years later.