The Niagara Reporter

Taking A Toll on Toll Takers

When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that cashless tolls would be coming to Grand Island, many people hailed it as a long overdue change.  It also, however, highlights one of the most obsolete jobs in the world, the toll collector.  A human being sits in a booth, breathes exhaust fumes all day and handles cash and coin.

It is definitely not a glamorous profession.  Arguably, is it really a profession?  I don’t know of any children aspiring to be a toll taker. There aren’t schools for it, and I can’t imagine the training being overly difficult.  Still, it is a paying job, and there’s always dignity in work, there is some honor in taking tolls.

Soon they will join the ranks of blacksmiths, milkmen and lamplighters.

The problem isn’t the toll takers.  Governor Cuomo’s announcement wasn’t aimed at making them unemployed; it supposedly will ease congestion, speed up traffic and make the air a little cleaner.  Cashless tolls are a small step, but they only solve half of the problem. People are still paying tolls, which is a subversive tax on people to use the road.  

If the Governor comes to town to announce the elimination of tolls, period, that would be something to celebrate.