On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority announced a massive layoff of toll collectors due to the move to a permanent cashless tolling system.
On June 2, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission unanimously voted to lay off 500 employees “due to Coronavirus impacts,” according to a new release.
The workers were informed of the layoffs earlier in the day on June 2. Layoffs are expected to begin June 18.
“This is a painful day for all of us at the Commission,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton. “I want to thank these men and women for their dedication and hard work over the years; I assure them we will continue to assist them during this transition.”
The layoffs come as the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission elected to make the All-Electronic Tolling (AET) system instituted on March 16 permanent due to ongoing concerns over Coronavirus.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says that there will be no return to cashless tolling moving forward. Drivers without E-ZPass will be issued a Pennsylvania Turnpike Toll by Plate invoice via mail.
Compton said that Coronavirus had cut traffic on the Pennsylvania Turnpike by 50% since March compared to 2019. He also noted that toll revenue fell more than $100 million for the fiscal year ending May 31.
Compton said that the Turnpike Commission made the decision to permanently implement cashless tolling due to heath concerns Brough about by the pandemic. He also said that returning to cash tolls could increase the risk of a crash because drivers have become accustomed to not stopping.
In January 2020, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission raised toll rates by 6%. This was the twelfth toll increase in twelve years.