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Toll Booth Antics

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Toll roads allow drivers to arrive at their destinations quicker, at the cost of making a monetary payment to use the route. In the old days, this is done by stopping at a checkpoint on the road and handing cash to the attendant. In some cases, scofflaw drivers will try to avoid making the payment by speeding by the booth, or ramming through the barrier arm gate if there is one.

The long queues and traffic congestion resulting from the need to stop at the booth are a potential source of frustration. Attempts to skip the line or bypass the traffic are another potential source of antics.


The penalties for this behavior can vary, and it can turn into a Felony Misdemeanor. Becoming a Discredited Trope due to toll roads adopting electronic payment systems that don't require the car to stop. Compare with Drive-Thru Antics.


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    Comic Strips 
  • Played with in Calvin and Hobbes, where in one strip, Calvin stands at the garage door, declaring it a tool booth when his dad gets home. Calvin then declares an ultimatum - pay 25 cents or he'll close the garage door on the car. He gets sent to his room, decrying "what a cheapskate."
  • Inverted in one Dilbert comic; toll booth attendants make Dilbert nervous, and he doesn't know why, so he goes to extra lengths not to annoy them: he turns his radio down, makes sure he has exact change for the toll, and always wishes them a good morning.

  • Hudson Hawk: the titular character is in an out-of-control ambulance gurney. He manages to get one arm loose so he can toss change into the toll booth so he can keep careening out of control because the bad guys are after him.
  • In The Gumball Rally, two cars attempt to get through a toll lane ahead of one another. This results in both cars getting wedged between the toll booths.
  • Blazing Saddles: An army of anachronistic villains out to destroy the town of Rock Ridge is stopped dead in their tracks by a toll booth erected in the desert. Absolutely nothing prevents them from going around, but they send runners back for change and then pay and go through one at a time.
  • Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle: The two are stopped at an automated toll booth which doesn't take the change they put into it. After hesitating to go through anyway, they eventually do so after being yelled at by the driver behind them.

  • In Bored of the Rings, the Riv'n'Dell Elves stop the Black Riders chasing Frito by means of a toll booth that charges an exorbitant toll from anyone who fits the "black rider" description.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of The Golden Girls, Dorothy boasts about running a toll booth with her date.

  • The song "Convoy" ends with a 1000+ truck convoy (and "Eleven long-haired Friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus ) crashing through a New Jersey toll bridge, the "chicken coops" (weigh stations) along the route, and several police roadblocks.

    Oral Tradition 
  • One urban legend has a couple of guys, angry about the cost of tolls, decide to send a message about their frustrations. So they put a pair of handcuffs around a toll booth attendant's wrist and drive away with a rope tied to the other cuff. The attendant is terrified that he's going to either lose his arm or be dragged along behind the car... but then the other end of the rope falls harmlessly out of the car.

    Video Games 
  • Bandits in Fable I threaten to kill anybody crossing the Greatwood Gorge bridge unless they pay a toll, but the Hero drives them away.
  • Mario Party 3: In the Gate Guy duel board, there are two sentient road gates (the Gate Guys) who are guarding the extremes of the central pathway. If a player wishes to pass from either side (be it to use it as a shortcut to the other character or to reach their Start Space more quickly), they'll have to pay five coins to the Gate Guy guarding it. The good news is that, when the character reaches the other end, its Gate Guy won't charge them and will simply let them pass.

    Western Animation 
  • Superman: The Animated Series: in the episode "Speed Demons", Superman and The Flash speed past a toll house while paying the toll. The toll house operator and the driver next to him look at the superheroes in awe as the latter's coins are spinning on the collection plate.
  • Family Guy:
  • The Fox and the Crow cartoon "Toll Bridge Troubles" has Crawford Crow trying to sneak past tollbooth attendant Faunterloy Fox in order to not pay the toll.
  • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Rabbit Transit", Bugs, in the middle of a cross-country race, approaches a toll bridge, but jumps into the river and swims across instead.
  • In Dilbert, Dilbert is stuck in traffic. The cause? Despite the freeway being 5 lanes wide, only 1 toll booth is open. Even worse, the guy currently at the toll booth insists on flicking his quarter into the coin slot, only to keep missing, resulting in him continuously getting out of his car to pick up the coin and then getting back in to try again.
  • The Simpsons:
    • At the end of "All's Fair in Oven War", Cletus gets revenge on James Caan by having the Spuckler clan ambush him at a toll booth, which Caan hates for obvious reasons.
    • The opening to "Homer's Paternity Coot" starts has Marge protesting the installation of a toll booth on a road she drives down every day.
    Coin Basket: Do it , Marge! Today, 75 cents. In five years, 80! MUAHAHAHAHA! Assuming voter approval.


Video Example(s):


The LePetomane Thruway

A delaying tactic to give the townspeople of Rock Ridge time to prepare for the horde of rustlers, cutthroats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists that Hedley Lamarr has rounded up

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / TollBoothAntics

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