Toll Collector

Toll Collector


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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108 Questions


Last Answer on September 21, 2018

Best Rated

When I worked for the federal government, I had a paygrade class, a GS-3. I was wondering if municipal employees in NYC also have that kind of numbering system, and if so, what number/grade a toll collector would have?

Asked by Jane over 6 years ago

I actually can't speak to collectors here in New York City as I worked in the Western part of the state and they are part of a different agency. I took a look at the civil service listing in 2010, which I believe was the last time the test was offered, and the salary grade is listed as 'Equated to G-9.' I'm not too versed in that part of the job though, as I was a part-timer for the five years that I was there.

Did you ever see drivers get into physical altercations with one another if someone was holding up the line?

Asked by Rikitime about 7 years ago

Thankfully, no. I occasionally had people get out of their cars and approach the booth to see what the heck was going on, though. Some even offered to pay the toll of the person holding up the line.

Is there anything done to protect toll booth workers from inhaling car fumes? Did you have any health complications from this?

Asked by jim f about 7 years ago

Unfortunately I don't know of anything that is done to combat the exhaust that is present. I have no ill health effects to speak of, but it would be interesting study to take on in respect to the lifers. Coincidentally, a majority of my co-workers were smokers.

Did you or any of your co-workers ever get sick from handling dirty bills and coins?

Asked by N8te about 7 years ago

I'm sure we all picked up our fair share of germs from the job but nothing too severe. Some collectors even claimed that they healthier, or at least a little more resistant due to all the germs they were exposed to. I think the science on that one is a little shaky. Though, if we were ever exposed to anything questionable, we were required to deposit all the materials in a biohazard bag and get ourselves checked out at the hospital. Thankfully, this is a very rare occurrence and something I never had to go through.

Let's say you're a Verrazano Bridge toll collector. I pull up to your booth with a plastic bag with $13.00 in loose, unrolled pennies. What would happen? Would you literally count out 1300 pennies, no matter how long the line behind me was?

Asked by Thumble1 over 6 years ago

This might be my favorite question. I would absolutely count out every single penny. I always advised anyone paying with a substantial amount of change that I would need to count it all before they left. I would then proceed to make little penny stacks, ten at a time. When I reached 130 identical penny stacks, I would let you go. The thing about being in a box with people moving all around you is that motivation to move fast can be hard to find. The only reward for moving cars is more cars and cars are basically the bane of your existence. I never liked having a long line but it was often unavoidable and as long as there are other lanes available I never felt too bad. Except for the few poor souls directly behind the troublemaker. Now, I'm not sure what collectors on the Bridge have been advised to do in that kind of situation, but from my perspective I am responsible for all of the money that I (don't) take in and I have to answer for any discrepancy in my deposit. That being said, I had a lot of people drop a lot of change on me and drive off. In that situation, I would always try to grab a plate number and a vehicle description if they were short. But again, all of this might and probably diverges from what collectors on the Bridge do. Also, I'm slowly dying on the inside while all of this is happening.

What's the fastest you've ever seen someone drive through the EZ Pass lane?

Asked by len about 7 years ago

50+. Not too outrageous sounding until you think about the fact that collectors often have to cross these lanes and the speed limit is 5 mph in these lanes.

Where do toll workers park?

Asked by heynow about 6 years ago

Next time you go through, look for a small building on either side of the toll plaza. There should be a parking a lot attached to it, or very close by. Often, it's only accessible by way of the highway itself so collectors will have to go through toll lanes and pull in that way. That building is where a manger is (at some stations), where we eat, take our breaks, and generally try to forget that we are toll collectors.