Telling it

printStories from the Front Lines

A Product of Its Time
The Military Influence


[see large picture]
World War II veterans were among the Turnpike’s first employees. So when toll collectors were handed uniforms that looked a lot like those from the Armed Forces, it must have seemed familiar. The jackets visually reinforced the Authority’s military-type organization, with job advancement linked to titles from its power structure: sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. One early toll collector remembers that there was even talk of arming them at first—but the idea died quickly.

Over time, the toll collectors dress code became more relaxed, with casual blazers in the 1970s and even baseball caps in the late 1980s.


Toll collector’s uniform jacket, about 1966
Collections of The New Jersey Historical Society, gift of William J. Dempsey