A toll system without collectors is the latest effort by the Bridge Authority to save the state nearly $500,000. YNN's Alexandra Weishaupt has more on the plan.
KINGSTON, N.Y. -- From 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. a new system takes over toll collection duties at the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge.
"Implementing a machine that will serve as a multi-faceted toll collection system that will take cash, coins, EZpass of course, and even credit cards," said John Bellucci, spokesman for the New York State Bridge Authority. "We don’t get any federal or state or local tax money. All of our money comes from tolls for maintenance and operations so anything we can do to keep tolls low people seem to appreciate."
Bellucci said the bridges average roughly 50 cars per hour overnight. The low traffic volume costs more to collect the tolls than the total revenue that’s coming in. As a cost effective method, the machine will soon be replacing the night-shift at the Rip Van Winkle and Bear Mountain bridges.
Bellucci said, "We have a lot of part time toll collectors who are very flexible in their schedule. We’re not laying off any full-time employees. We want this to work for everybody so we’re really using retirement and attrition as a way to implement this and move schedules around."
And although there will no longer be a friendly face to greet you before you cross, Bellucci said the transaction is being monitored from a centralized command center while they work to perfect the machine
"It’s a way to implement the system but still make sure we know exactly what’s going on on our bridges," noted Bellucci.
The hope is to have those systems up and running on all three bridges by the end of the year.