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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 43, October 22, 2006, Article 12

ON THE DEMISE OF TOLL TOKENS

Dick Johnson writes: "There are two bridges and two ferries between
Halifax and Dartmouth in Nova Scotia, Canada. They have used tokens
to cross the bridges since 1955. Now the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge
Commission wants to "ditch their use," according to a news story in
the Halifax Daily News this week.

The action taken by the Nova Scocians is indicative of tollway
administrators across North America. Token use is declining while
systems using drive-by electronic scanning and monthly billing are
on the rise. These Canadians call their system MacPasses that were
introduced in 1998. The commission had issued five different tokens
(for five classes of cars and trucks based on the number of axles)
used for bridge crossings.

But it is interesting to note the reasons given in the public hearing
this week. "Tokens are expensive to handle, slow bridge traffic, but
most importantly, will not work with the new tolling system. Then
there is the cost of collecting, counting and bagging tokens and the
delays created when drivers stop to buy them at the toll booths."

For token manufacturers it is an evolving problem. Several have
turned to casinos for producing their customized gaming chips to
replace a once-lucrative token business. For some it is coming too
late. New England's Roger Williams Mint when out of business this
summer and was bought out by Osborne Coinage Company of Cincinnati.

For token collectors the rate of obsolete tokens is growing. For
token manufacturers they are going to have to be very creative in
finding new markets for their products. As for collectors we could
look forward to any new diestruck items provided they are attractive
and significant.

The story of this Canadian token's intended demise is at: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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