Toll Collector Job Description
Toll collectors work in toll booths on highways, bridges, and other roadways. While the majority of toll collector positions are with state departments of transportation and highway administrations, toll collectors can also work for private companies who subcontract from governments or for port authorities affiliated with one or more states.
This role requires a high level of attention to detail and excellent cash management skills to ensure that customers pay the correct amount in tolls and receive the correct amount of change. It also requires a willingness to work in inclement weather and the ability to resolve difficult customer situations.
Toll Collector Duties and Responsibilities
We examined several job postings and found that most toll collectors share similar core responsibilities:
Collect Toll Payments
The main duty of a toll collector is taking payments from customers for their tolls. A toll collector verifies the amount the customer owes, collects cash payment, and makes change for each customer. In this aspect of the role, the toll collector also maintains records of cash payments and records information about non-paying drivers so that the department can take appropriate action.
Provide Customers with Receipts
Toll collectors frequently need to provide customers receipts for tolls they pay. Many drivers and commuters deduct some portion of their toll payments from their income taxes, so the toll collector needs to provide these customers with accurate payment records and dated receipts.
Calculate Toll Amounts
Additionally, toll collectors need to calculate amounts due for passenger vehicles, tractor trailers, and motorcycles, each of which may have different toll amounts depending on vehicle type and weight. The toll collector makes calculations to determine amounts due based on the number of axles, reported vehicle weight, and freight type for tractor trailers.
Give Drivers Directions
In some cases, toll collectors may need to provide customers with directions if asked. A driver may need information about the distance between a toll booth and the next exit, for example, or may need to know which way to turn once they leave the off-ramp. This part of the job requires toll collectors to have a good handle on local roads and services and the ability to effectively communicate instructions to others.
Open and Close Toll Booth
Finally, toll collectors follow proper procedures for opening and closing the toll booth. This frequently includes counting cash drawers at the beginning and end of the shift, reconciling receipts with payments received, and preparing reports on driver volume or incidents that occur during the shift. The toll collector also ensures that their replacement can access the booth or otherwise closes and locks the booth during non-peak hours.
Toll Collector Skills and Qualifications
Toll collectors are public-facing employees of a state’s department of transportation or other organizations, collecting tolls for vehicle travel on highways and bridges. Most workers in this role have at least a high school diploma and the following skills:
- Customer service – toll collectors frequently interact with drivers, so they need solid customer service skills and should be able to answer questions and maintain a personable demeanor
- Cash handling – because customers pay tolls in cash, toll collectors need excellent cash management skills and should be able to successfully make change and balance cash drawers at the end of a shift
- Communication skills – toll collectors need effective communication skills and should be particularly good at verbal communication while talking to customers and to coworkers
- Attention to detail – toll collectors need to make calculations and determine toll amounts based on vehicle types, so they should have a high level of attention to detail
- Reliability – this role frequently requires toll collectors to work in inclement weather and make it to the tolls despite difficult conditions, so they should be reliable and able to deal with changing road and weather conditions
Toll Collector Education and Training
Toll collectors do not need any formal education, although they do need at least a high school diploma or GED. In addition, toll collectors may need to pass civil servant examinations as required by their state or jurisdiction. There are some opportunities for on-the-job training in this role as toll collectors learn the procedures of the position. Prior customer service and cash handling experience can also help toll collectors find employment.
Toll Collector Salary and Outlook
Toll collector salaries can depend largely on the state in which the toll collector works, since each state’s department of transportation determines pay rates for workers in this role. According to Glassdoor, toll collectors earn an average annual salary of $24,220, and hourly rates for some specific states range from $12 per hour to over $20. This adheres closely to salary ranges determined by PayScale, which estimates that toll collectors earn an average hourly rate of $12.62.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide job outlook estimates for toll collectors, it is worth noting that many states are switching to automated toll collection systems, which may slow employment growth in this role.
We searched the web and found several resources if you’d like to learn more about starting a career as a toll collector:
“New York State Toll Collector Sample Quiz” – take this practice quiz to learn about customer service best practices, toll calculation for various vehicle types and distances, and cash handling procedures
Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service – this book explores careers in public service, which include toll collectors who work for state departments of transportation
“Oakland at Work: A Day in the Life of a Bay Bridge Toll Collector” – in this article, a toll collector talks about a typical day on the job, including the challenges and opportunities that the job provides
Public Service Ethics: Individual and Institutional Responsibilities – read this book to learn about ethical considerations related to working in the public service sector
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