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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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.
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.
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.
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!"
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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.
As long as there is cash, there will be tolls manned by humans. I think you'll see a continued push to inconvenience cash payers in the form of pulling off the main road to pay, and higher cash prices but there are just too many people from too many places to be integrated in one system. It's taken years for states to cross-honor other state tags under the EZ-Pass system, and that system will never serve 100% of the population.
Boy, I've never heard of that. In our system, tickets were stamped with entry and exit times so I guess the information could be available but I'm not sure if I see that holding up in court.
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