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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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • In the Discworld short story "Troll Bridge", Mica the troll is infuriated that one of his brothers-in-law has a bridge, but uses a toll barrier, rather than just jumping out and scaring people, because that is not how a troll is supposed to run a bridge. According to the song "What Cohen Did Next" at the end of The Film of the Book, Cohen the Barbarian's response to this was to headbutt the booth open, and grab all the money as the troll fled.

    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 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.
  • At several river crossings in The Oregon Trail there is an option to pay money to someone in order to use their ferry to cross safely. Of course, you could always cross it yourself by either caulking the wagon and turn it into a makeshift boat to float across or just ford it if you think the river is safe enough, but those methods carry a higher risk of the wagon tipping over and you losing supplies (or God forbid, people). Near the end at The Dalles, you also have the choice of either finishing the journey using the Barlow Toll Road, or go the rest of the way on a raft using the rocky Columbia River — guess which option you picked if you didn't want to be laughed at by the rest of your classmates.

    Web Video 
  • One of The Spiffing Brit's run for Cities: Skylines has him running a "city" entirely consisting of a series of tollbooths, purely making a profit out of this without having to pay for other services. When cars try going on other highways, or people instead opt to take trains instead, he has those severed so that everyone would have to pay tens if not hundreds of dollars worth of toll to go from one end to the other. With infrastructure and power expenses factored in, he would earn close to $10,000 a week that way.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • Family Guy:
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "Bus the Two of Us", after having taken the Foster Bus for a joyride, Bloo asks Mac to search for spare change to toss it into the toll booth while speeding up. Unpredictability, the coin toss failed, they ended up breaking through the booth and get pulled over by the police.
  • 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.
  • 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 plot of "Homer's Paternity Coot" starts with 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.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • "Shunpiking" is travelling in ways that deliberately avoid having to use toll roads. The practice dates back to at least the early United States, with Rice Road in northwestern Massachusetts being used so that stagecoaches could avoid using a nearby turnpike and becoming the earliest known road to get the sorbiquet "shunpike".


Video Example(s):


Toll Booth Coin Toss

Not wanting to stop at the toll, Bloo asks Mac to toss some change out the window as he's speeding up, with predictable results.

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