Your Money is No Good Here

1937 packard_Snapseed

1937 Packard
Photo © Allan G. Smorra, All Rights Reserved

At 23:00 hours last night I finished my Swing shift at the Golden Gate Bridge and stayed over to be a witness as the last Toll Collector left her booth at Midnight. It was like waiting for an execution.

Bridge Officials in a 1937 Packard paid the last cash toll under the watchful eyes of a gaggle of news media. This was the same automobile that was the first to cross the bridge and pay a toll in 1937.

I have embedded a few videos and listed links below for more information about the State of the Golden Gate.


The News Media interviewing the last Golden Gate Bridge Toll Collector

Media Rush to interview the last Golden Gate Bridge Toll Collector
Photo © Allan G. Smorra, All Rights Reserved

Related links:

  18 comments for “Your Money is No Good Here

  1. March 29, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    Sad, yet this is the wave of the future.


    • March 29, 2013 at 7:28 AM

      I wish that the hand doing the waving used all 5 fingers. Thanks for your comment, Valentine.


  2. March 27, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    My 90 year old mother says things are changing too much. She has seen a lot and a lot of it she doesn’t like. I’m starting to agree, sadly. Sorry to see the toll collectors go. A lot of change…


  3. March 27, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    I hope they don’t get rid of toll booths in the US or Midwest; because toll booth operators do more than make change.


    • March 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      I agree with you. Management sees it otherwise.

      Sent from my iPhone


      • March 27, 2013 at 7:14 PM

        I think they thought in the short term, and may not have considered the PR benefits of toll booth operators or people visiting from other countries not having change. As a traveler, I’ll stop at the toll booth for insider local travel tips. What a shame.


  4. March 27, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Sorry to see them go – they were really wonderful ambassadors. Kinda cool that they brought that same car back – gave me goosebumps.


    • March 27, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      It is completely restored and absolutely beautiful.

      Sent from my iPhone


  5. March 27, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    “For the times, they are a’changing.” I hope those toll workers are well compensated for the loss of their jobs. Sad for them.


    • March 27, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      The compensation is minimal and not all that was promised. The Times have definitely changed.

      Sent from my iPhone


  6. March 27, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    So sad for those employees to be dumped into this already struggling economy. And what’s with that severance?? Wow, pitiful.


    • March 27, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      Sad, indeed, but a sign of the times and perhaps an omen for the future for the rest of us.


  7. March 27, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    They do know that there are electronic tolls in other cities, don’t they? Sad that they lost their jobs. I wonder, did the workers receive a severance package? Do they have a pension?


    • March 27, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Hello Honie,

      There were severance packages: One package was ‘enhanced’ and it meant that the person could never re-apply for a job with the District. The second package was minimal and the person was eligible to re-apply for any job in the future, if they qualified.

      Some people were permanent employees that were vested in a pension, the majority were temporary workers who have nothing.

      Yes, we do know about electronic tolls in other cities. We have had electronic tolls at the GGB since New Years’ Eve in 1999. Well over 5 years ago, the Metropolitan Transportation Committee found that the GGB could gain $9 million in revenue by eliminating the $1 discount given to Fastrak users. It was an introductory offer to get people into the system and has remained a fixture ever since then.

      Our Toll Collectors (Bridge Officers) do much more than take money from strangers. As Jaquie said,”We are the unofficial ambassadors for the District”.

      Thanks for your interest and for taking the time to comment, Allan


      • March 27, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        I think it was very cool that the first car to pay a toll was the last one too. This was in the works for quite some time then…did the workers initially protest the change? It’s always interesting to me when tech replaces humans. We have some issues here with traffic cameras taking the place of police officers. The whole guilty ’til proven innocent argument. Some cities wouldn’t think of installing them and we recently learned that the “savings” becomes null once the tech begins to age and needs maintenance. Very interesting.


      • March 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        We all protested this decision, including labor marches and testifying at Board meetings (see some of my posts from a year ago). Our efforts fell on deaf ears.

        Aging Tech is a problem and we are in store to spend more $ in the future to get this system up to current standards.

        I guess the attraction for Tech is that it is deductible, whereas people have benefit$.

        Sent from my iPhone


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