Yep, I realize that most people like the convenience of EZPass and I don't fault anyone for that.

But I want to share my experience with some great people that collect tolls on the Garden State Parkway.

They were camera-shy so I couldn't feature them in a photo, but I just want to say that there are two toll booth workers I see nearly every morning on my commute to work that just make my morning brighter.

They're warm, friendly, always have a smile and, as if that weren't enough, they're Hawk fans, too!

Mary and Patrick work on the northbound side of the Garden State Parkway at the New Gretna Toll Plaza.

They help start my day the right way (along with Free Beer & Hot Wings, of course).

I don't know about you, but I like the human contact.

But according to an online article, as early as next summer the GSP could switch to a cashless toll collection system.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority already has a contract with the toll collector's unions to eliminate the jobs by July 2013 and will either hire a private company to collect the tolls or go completely cashless.


I'm gonna miss my friends. And of course I'm sorry they'll be losing their jobs.

I'll be sad to lose my daily contact with two people I look forward to seeing and instead will have to pay tolls using faceless automation which doesn't have the decency to ask how your day is going.

If you're like me and you still like to actually connect with people face to face, then you probably have some favorite toll booth workers, too.

And you've probably thought like I have about what a challenging job they have, dealing with the exhaust from the cars and the heat and cold, not to mention the jerks who either throw money at them, curse them, or are just generally unfriendly.

They even have to put up with this, all while still smiling:


Where's Simon Cowell when you need him?