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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 6, February 10, 2008, Article 34

FLORIDA TOLL COLLECTORS REFUSE 'STICKY' COINS

[The News-Press of southwest Florida published an article
this week about toll collectors who refuse to accept
"pennies" and "sticky" coins.  -Editor]

It was hard enough for those of us who don't carry much
cash to get over the bridges into Cape Coral when it
only cost $1.

Imagine how the cash-challenged are with the new $2
one-way toll.

Take Courtney Wright of Cape Coral, for instance, who
was trying to get home one recent evening only to discover
she was out of money.

So Wright did what any woman who carries a handbag does.
She dove to the bottom and scrounged around eventually
finding one dollar bill, three quarters, two nickels,
a dime and five pennies.

For most of us, that equals $2.

But using Cape Coral bridge collector math, Wright was
five cents short. Wright was told the new LeeWay policy
was not to accept pennies and, furthermore, her change
was "sticky."

"From now on," Wright repeated what she said the toll
collector told her, "pennies and sticky change would
result in ... three points on my license."

I found it hard to believe that LeeWay, the agency that
collects tolls, was rejecting pennies and dirty money.
So I called LeeWay manager Susan Hopwood to see if she
could shed some light on this situation.

When I told her the story about the collector not
wanting to accept Wright's change, she immediately
asked: "Was it sticky?"

Now how did she know that? Have sticky pennies been
a problem lately?

In fact, they have, Hopwood said, jamming up machines
and forcing collectors to touch coins they'd rather not.
"Pennies are OK, but we discourage them because it takes
longer to count them," Hopwood said. "But a sticky
coin is different.

"You don't know where a coin has been," Hopwood said
of the money handed over to collectors. "Sometimes
motorists take it out of their mouths and we ask them
to clean it."

I'm not the squeamish type but the thought of this has
me reaching for hand sanitizer. I really didn't want to
go there, but this begged for an explanation.

"When the toll was 50 cents rather than have the money
in a pocket motorcyclists would put two quarters in their
mouths and then hand it to the collector. That's happened
more than once," Hopwood said.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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