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Electronic Tolling Takes Toll On Toll Collectors

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Massachusetts Turnpike has turned to all electronic tolling and toll collectors who have spent years at the booth are looking into early retirement or a new job.

For years they have greeted us at the toll booth -- some with a smile, some with their hands. Toll collectors saw their last day on the job Friday.

Mass. Pike Electronic Tolling: What You Should Know

Transponders have now replaced people, and gantries have replaced manned booths.

Final night of toll booths on the Mass. Pike. (WBZ)

Mike McKinney is a toll collector who worked his last day after 22 years on the job. One thing he won't miss is the weather.

"Just the wind, it's tough with the wind," McKinney said.

However, he will miss the drivers.

"I'm a people person," he said. "I like talking to people."

Bruce Stratton braved the heat, the cold, the wind and the snow for 22 years.

"I can't believe it's really happening," said Stratton. "For years and years they were talking about taking down tolls whether it be free the pike or this electronic tolling, but it's kind of a weird, eerie feeling."

Some of the younger toll collectors are now looking for a new job. Others who have years of experience have been given new assignments, or are looking into early retirement.

For the next few months or even years, drivers may be wishing the toll collectors come back. That's because some people are having trouble on the phone, online and in person scoring the all-important transponder.

"Be patient if you don't have a transponder, be patient on the roads for the next month while we get the booths taken down," said MassDOT secretary Stephanie Pollack.

Twenty-three work zones on the Mass. Pike will be focused on removing the booths.

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