The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has announced that the cashless, All-Electronic Tolling (AET) system instituted March 16 to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus will become permanent — a decision that will result in the layoff of approximately 500 employees, primarily toll collectors and fare-collection personnel. The personnel action was unanimously approved by PTC commissioners June 2 at a bimonthly public meeting.
“I deeply regret that we have reached this point, but the world has been irrevocably changed by the global pandemic,” said PTC CEO Mark P. Compton. “This pandemic had a much greater impact than anyone could have foreseen. The PA Turnpike has not been spared from COVID-19.”
There will be no return to cash collections on the PA Turnpike system. Customers will move through the lanes at posted speeds without stopping. Their tolls will be assessed via E-ZPass, or a PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE invoice will be sent in the mail.
Impacted employees were notified of the decision earlier today; the contractual layoff process is expected to begin this week, with the first employee separations occurring on or after June 18.
“This is a painful day for all of us at the Commission,” said 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.”
Compton noted that traffic plummeted because of the pandemic by almost 50% since March compared to 2019; toll revenues dropped by more than $100 million for the fiscal year ended May 31.