Confederation Bridge considers automated-only night tolls

Confederation Bridge officials will study the feasibility of opening only self-serve toll booths overnight, an idea being considered in part for employee safety.

Study will examine employee safety, staffing hours and tourist needs

Confederation Bridge officials will look into the possibility of having only self-serve toll booths open overnight. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Confederation Bridge officials will study the feasibility of opening only self-serve toll booths overnight, an idea being considered in part for employee safety.

Late at night, when traffic is often slower, attendants at the seven manned lanes are at the highest risk of getting robbed or attacked, says bridge general manager Michel Le Chasseur.

"Anything ever happened here? No. Do we have to wait for something to happen? We shouldn't," he said. "Unfortunately today, some people are going to do foolish things for $50. It's a question of, what is the risk?

A pilot project will likely take place this fall, says Confederation Bridge general manager, Michel Le Chasseur. (CBC)
Transport Canada has given Strait Crossing Development approval to examine the possibility of only opening tolls that have automated credit and debit machines late at night.

The study will also examine staffing hours and any concerns that might arise from customers who want face-to-face service, such as tourists, he said.

"We are also, in a roundabout way, in the tourism business," said Le Chasseur.

"And a lot of clients when they reach the toll plaza, they always ask questions. So basically it is not necessarily a slam dunk. We have to really think of all the aspects of this and strike a balance I guess."

Some drivers don't like the idea.

"I don't think I'd want it. Because I don't carry a credit card," said Charlie Weeks.

In these cases, customers would have to buy a bridge gift card ahead of time, said Le Chasseur.

And if a card or a machine malfunctions, staff will be on hand 24/7 monitoring cameras and intercoms, he said.

A pilot project is expected to begin next fall.

The results will determine if it becomes a permanent change.

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