Work in a Toll Booth
Have you ever shelled out change to pay a toll? Were you polite to the toll booth workers who make their living collecting tolls from motorists like you?
Tollbooth workers collect money, disburse change, and issue receipts to motorists who use toll roads and private facilities. They also document how many people come by and watch out for toll evaders. Tollbooth workers ensure that toll roads operate smoothly and efficiently.
Toll booth workers spend their days working in small toll booths on roads, bridges, highways, turnpikes, airports, parking structures, and ferries – anywhere where you have to pay a fee from your car window. It is a tedious job, but it is one that is needed.
Tolls are collected to help fund structures and roads. Many times a private company will build a new road and then use tolls to make their money back. Once they are paid off, they can transfer the road to the government. This is called a BOT or Built-Operate-Transfer.
The three main types of tolls are open, closed, and electronic. Open tolls are where all vehicles stop at spots along a highway to pay. Closed tolls are where you collect an entrance ticket and pay upon exit, like in a parking garage. Electronic tolls eliminate the need to stop at the toll booth by monitoring cars with transponders and then charging them a usage fee.
It is the responsibility of the toll booth worker to determine the fees a driver must pay when they arrive at the toll booth. Unfortunately, motorists are often not very pleasant to toll booth workers because they see the toll as a burden on their time and wallets. Tollbooth workers need to be thick-skinned to deal with these surly clients.
Tollbooth workers usually spend 8-hour shifts in very cramped booths. Every booth must be manned 24 hours a day and the routine can quickly become repetitive. It’s a good idea to invest in a portable radio to help the time go by. Many toll booths have a small lounge nearby so workers can take breaks, have coffee, and stretch.
Tollbooth workers wear uniforms issued by their employer who is either a private company or the state, federal, or local government. The uniform varies depending on the season and the weather. Wearing rubber gloves reduces the amount of grubby germy money they touch and using earplugs cuts down on the constant sounds of car engines. Some toll booth workers also wear facemasks to filter out exhaust fumes from idling cars.
There are no formal educational requirements to be a toll booth worker. The ability to count and deal with money is essential and background checks are often required. Tollbooth workers keep very busy, unfortunately, fewer toll booth workers are needed each year because technology like EZPass and RFID are taking over.
In exchange for keeping America running, toll booth operators receive $18,000 to $38,000 per year or 9 to $17 per hour plus benefits, overtime, and bonuses. Depending on where a toll booth worker works, they may be part of a union that negotiates wages and benefits. Some states assign toll booth workers levels I to IV, which helps to distinguish their role and rank in the toll booth world.
Toll booths are here to stay. They may be annoying to many motorists, but they keep roads open, parking structures full, and ferries floating. Remember that wherever there is a toll booth, a toll booth worker is making a living.
Quick Facts About Toll Booth Work
Job Title: Toll Booth Operator, Toll Booth Worker, Toll Booth Collector
Office: Toll booths on toll roads
Description: Collect fares, issue change, print receipts to motorists
Certifications/Education: Not needed
Necessary Skills: Patience, Tolerance, Good with money
Potential Employers: Federal and state governments, Private companies
Pay: $18,000 to $38,000 per year, average is $20,000 per year, $9 to $17 per hour plus overtime and bonuses