May 14, 2020
Tolls have been a staple for New York state drivers for a long time, but recently, more and more toll roads along the New York State Thruway have been turned cashless. While the New York State Thruway Authority claims that cashless tolling “reduce(s) congestion, improve(s) safety and reduce(s) air pollution,” not everyone is convinced. Let’s take a look at the potential disadvantages of the cashless tolling system:
Toll Booth Collectors Are Losing Their Jobs
According to a recent article in the New York Times, cashless tolling has meant a devastating loss of employment for nearly 1,200 toll booth workers. Many of these workers see their jobs as something beyond just simply collecting tolls. They sometimes see themselves as something of a concierge, offering up restaurant recommendations and directions, and even as a help to authorities by keeping an eye out on wanted vehicles.
A cashless system simply can’t replace the human touch offered by a toll booth worker, who regular commuters can sometimes get to know by name. And for toll booth workers represented by a labor union, this loss isn’t just about employment, it’s about opportunity for advancement and career support.
Cashless Tolls Cost Drivers More Money
New York City is the first to implement a variable price tolling system in which cashless toll prices can be changed minute-by-minute to offer a surcharge during peak traffic times. This pricing structure, only presently implemented in parts of Manhattan, is possible through an automated system.
Some toll booth workers would bring their own extra cash to work each day to help drivers who didn’t have change. With the new cashless tolling system, drivers who don’t have the money or pay for an EZPass will be automatically billed. But, sometimes, those bills aren’t accurate.
Drivers Can Be Billed Excessive Fines
Timothy Hiller interviewed over 40 New York State drivers who have received excessive fines. Some of those fines exceeded $7,000. These excess fines occur because when a driver misses a cashless toll, a picture of their license plate is sent to the authorities, who then process a bill for the driver.
Beyond the owed toll, administrative fees are tacked onto the fine, so when a driver receives a bill in the mail, it is often in excess of the owed toll.
These changes and additional costs have made some New York state drivers unhappy with the new cashless tolling system. If you’re one of these drivers, and you’ve experienced excessive fines because of the new cashless tolling system or you would like more information about these cases, please contact Timothy Hiller at firstname.lastname@example.org