Toll Collectors Gone Wild

Drivers beef about raging New Jersey Turnpike workers

toll booth

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Toll Collectors Gone Wild

FEBRUARY 22--The overwhelming majority of New Jersey state employees are courteous, hard-working individuals eager to aid the public for whom they work. And then there is the small number of toll collectors employed by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority who regularly go rogue on motorists.

On these pages you'll find an entertaining selection of complaint letters sent to turnpike officials by motorists who ran into assorted trouble when trying to pay their way on the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike. More than 550 letters--covering the past 18 months and addressing a variety of types of complaints--were released after TSG filed a Freedom of Information request with the state authority.

Toll collectors ("T/C"), it seems, can be set off by a variety of slights, from the provision of change by a motorist to a patron's demand for a receipt. As a result, threats of violence, vulgarity, and racial slurs have allegedly been directed at drivers (but only on occasion, of course, since most toll takers are of a sunny disposition, as most motorists can attest). And then there are the booth inhabitants who woo female motorists with sexy talk about strip searches and flashing.

While it has been more than five years since we last examined the reported shortcomings of some Jersey toll collectors, one thing has remained constant: No motorist should pay the toll with pennies and expect to drive away unscathed. (30 pages)