On early Wednesday morning, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District planned to make the switch from human toll collectors to a completely electronic toll system, leaving nine full-time toll-takers and 29 temporary, part-time hires without jobs.Pushed into the 21st century by California's budget crisis;
Toll-takers like [Marsha] Brandhorst have been an institution at the bridge since it opened in 1937, but the pressure to help bail the district out of a $66 million budget shortfall over the next five years has led to employee pink slips.
Bridge district managers say eliminating toll-takers will save about $16 million over eight years in salaries and benefits. The base annual salary for a toll-taker ranged from $48,672 to $54,080. Outfitting the bridge with the new all-electronic equipment is costing the bridge district $3.2 million.