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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105 Questions

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Last Answer on September 21, 2018

Best Rated

Have you ever seen an instance where an oversized vehicle got physically stuck at a toll?

Asked by SevenSevenSeven over 6 years ago

Yes! I always thought the rules were pretty clear for oversized vehicles but when you get drivers from all over the country and Canada, confusion sets in. We'd have to shut down lanes, get our manager out to direct traffic, and get the guy out of there as quickly as we could. We always had to be on the lookout for overheight vehicles as well because overpasses and vehicles over 13'6" didn't go so well together on our road.

What do you do for work now?

Asked by anon1 over 6 years ago

I went back to school and got my PhD in Toll Collection. Now I teach it! Actually, I am happily employed as a broadcast operator at a financial news network. I held the job from age 18-23, which encompassed my college years plus one.

If I end up in an exact change lane but don't have exact change, what should I do?

Asked by frumunda over 6 years ago

I actually can't speak to this directly because we didn't have exact change lanes in my area. I guess the best advice I can give is to not end up there! I suppose if the lane is unmanned and has a bucket or something like that you might just have to try and back up out of that lane, much to the dismay of everyone behind you. If there is a person staffing that line, I'm almost certain they will have some sort of change. Still, I wouldn't recommend trying to find out.

Were there everyday commuters that you'd see over and over and would develop a rapport with?

Asked by Hutcher over 6 years ago

Absolutely. I had the benefit of working in some smaller stations as well as a big plaza and I definitely got to the recognition with some people. My hours were very irregular so it was always hit or miss though. It's funny, after a few encounters you just know how to treat certain people. Like, 'oh this guy, he never says a word.' or 'here comes the lady that always asks how I am!"

Have you ever seen a co-worker just absolutely lose his shit mid-shift and explode on a driver or pull a walk-out? Gotta think it's not dissimilar from disgruntled postal workers.

Asked by johnno85 over 6 years ago

I will say this about the people I worked with and are still out there to this day- they exercise incredible restraint. If you ever wonder why collectors aren't very talkative, I suspect this may be the reason. It's one of those jobs that the less you say sometimes, the better. I didn't personally witness anything catastrophic but there was a guy I worked with who flipped off a customer. I remember hearing a story about a guy who freaked out, locked up all his money at a small station and left. Not exactly sure how that one panned out but I think he kept his job for some time after that incident. People have definitely walked out on the job, though. I've heard of people going on their first break and just taking off.

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 6 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.

Do you get alerted by police bulletins to look out for criminal suspects on the run, and have you ever spotted anyone?

Asked by h99mer over 6 years ago

We did. Most common bulletins were vehicle descriptions. A few years back, a man named Bucky Phillips escaped a correctional facility upstate and while on the run, shot a state police officer in the middle of the state. He had relatives in the area that I worked so were on the lookout for him and any car that had been tied to him. State police officers were being called in from all across the state as it turned into an all-out manhunt. Then he shot (and killed one) two more state troopers and things got even more intense. For a few days, they doubled up staffing at our smaller stations so no one would be alone at any time. No one on our highway spotted him though, and he was apprehended once a small army descended upon him in the woods. I was working the night he was caught and a convoy of police vehicles (one of which carried him) came through our plaza, taking him back towards Buffalo. I tried to keep count the cars but they just kept flying though and I couldn't keep up. Definitely one of the more memorable nights out there.