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Union is bad.

Just put into perspective.

In the Garden State Parkway in NJ, the Union Toll Plaza has 4 lanes that accept exact change. No people involved. Then few months ago, they "upgraded" the exact change lanes and put people to collect tolls, 24/7. Not to mention, it takes longer to pass the lane now if you need to pay cash.

That means, at 40hr/week per person, 168hr per week, they need 16 people to run this 4 lanes. Then another 2 to 3 people to cover for time off. Assume a low $50k per person/year, that's almost $1m per year.

What values do these toll collectors provide to society? The only reason why these jobs were created in the first place is because of the union. Don't you think money and manpower can spend on something better to serve the customers? Like repairing the road.

They do that because of the incompetence of New Jersey. Pretty sure those parkway tolls are run by counties, so it’s probably a patronage mill.

Massachusetts implemented E-ZPass/LPR billing in a couple of months. It’s hard to even tell that tollbooths existed.

The fact we have toll roads at all is concerning, considering this is a common argument against privatization. Toll stops are also pretty dangerous, especially the ones on the West Virginia Turnpike, which recently doubled in price. What can we really do, though?

The fact that you're using toll booths to collect tolls is the concerning part to me. Here in Toronto we have a toll highway where everything is automated. Via cameras/license plate if you only drive on it occasionally, or via a transponder if you drive on it often enough it's worth the discount (I assume the discount exists because the cameras are unreliable, sometimes miss people, and they want to minimize errors).

Plate recognition has a fallthrough rate, and mailing out toll bills followed by processing incoming checks is a costly PITA that a transponder enabled vehicle mostly eliminates.

So what makes you think the union was responsible for this change?

The exact change lanes were removed because the change collection hardware is old and parts are becoming scarce:


Another reason for replacing exact change lanes on the busy Parkway mainline is the machines that actually count the change, coin by coin, are old, cranky and hard to get parts for, Feeney said.

“Most are from the 1990’s. The manufacturers have not made parts for them for some time,” Feeney said. “Even the secondary market is difficult.”

It doesn’t help when drivers throw other stuff in the basket like slugs, foreign coins, garbage, a fish and used kitty litter

There are still plenty of companies making exact change machines, they just put brand new ones in on my local toll road ~3 years ago.

Maybe installing new machines from new vendors wasn't considered worthwhile given that most people use the electronic passes and they want to encourage more of that.

>Assume a low $50k per person/year,

That's a very low number to assume!

The last time I checked, base compensation for toll takers in New York was well over $120K/year.

In unionized NJ, I am sure compensation is about the same.

Where are you getting those numbers from? Here is data that suggest NY toll collectors make less than $20/hour, https://www.indeed.com/salaries/Toll-Collector-Salaries,-New...


On top of $60K year in base pay, you have to consider maybe $50K a year in pension benefits, then maybe $20K a year for health insurance.

And those numbers were from 8 years ago.

Those are bridge/tunnel tolls, which are a lot higher than Garden State Parkway tolls, which might mean higher pay. (No, it isn't very logical, but I can certainly see toll collectors at a $1 toll booth making less than toll collectors at a $15 toll booth if only because the higher price toll can more easily support a higher wage.)

> The only reason why these jobs were created in the first place is because of the union.

Citation please?

And sure, I'll admit there are some unions well entrenched, who also abuse their situation, although you can likely blame the Mafia for that in NJ

Most jobs don't actually provide value to society.

And frankly, I'm fine with that.

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