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.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +


Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

104 Questions


Last Answer on March 01, 2018

Best Rated

Kicka$$ thread! Pretty much every question I would've asked has been asked. Is there anything that HASN'T been asked that you wish had been?

Asked by Mason almost 6 years ago

It's been a blast. Everyone has had much more thoughtful and in-depth questions than I expected and it's been a pleasure answering them. I was hoping someone would mention license plates because I had a funny story to share. I was working at the smallest station in my section one day. There wasn't much surrounding the station but it had a knack of attracting some of the weirdest people you can imagine. I was working the exit side one day when a large white SUV pulled in carrying the largest four black women I've ever seen. Customized licensed plate read PUDDIN. I did the best I could to hold it together during the transaction. Also the guy with the GETATAN plate turned out to be a jerk. Shocking.

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

Asked by Rikitime almost 6 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.

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

Asked by N8te almost 6 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.

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 5 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.

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

Asked by len almost 6 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.

You collected tolls in the western end of NY where including me Canadians loves to travel for cross-boarder shopping. How do you handle rude and confused tourist who handly understand English?

Asked by FridayLover about 5 years ago

First and foremost, I too, am a huge fan of Fridays, FridayLover. We don't really have a procedure for handling rude and confused tourists. We're out there to collect tolls, and that's about it. Confusion is one thing. When I had wide-eyed drivers pull up with literally no idea what was happening, I just had to exercise as much patience with them as I could and get them onto the same page. Even getting people to open their windows and reach out to take the toll ticket from me when they were entering was sometimes a challenge. I had some comical stare downs with drivers who didn't speak English. It was interesting because I was doing something completely mundane, while they were doing something completely new. Even getting them to pull away after paying their toll was a challenge sometimes. That being said, being a confused tourist with a smile on your face will get you a whole lot farther than the alternative. Being confused shouldn't give you a license to be rude though. If you don't like that we aren't a currency exchange, or that our collectors don't know if certain malls have certain stores, or that we can't give you a satisfactory answer as to why there is a toll road here at all, that's fine. But there's really no need to berate a toll collector. And if you do, Canadian or not, don't be surprised when you don't get a very nice response. And I totally get that you don't want to take American change back to Canada, but if you guys could cool it on the 315 pennies for a 3.15 toll, my brethren would appreciate it.

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 5 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.