Express Concern about Complaints; Ask Motorists to Share Their Stories

(TRENTON) — Two leading Assembly Democrats on Wednesday asked the state’s acting transportation commissioner to detail exactly what is being done to address customer service complaints filed by motorists against New Jersey Turnpike Authority toll collectors.

They also asked motorists to share their stories of poor customer service with lawmakers.

Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski and Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee Chairman Paul Moriarty faxed a letter to acting Commissioner James Simpson after the Web site www.thesmokinggun.com detailed more than 550 complaints over 18 months about how motorists were treated poorly by toll collectors. Simpson is also acting chairman of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

“Racial slurs, violent threats and verbal abuse toward the public are always unacceptable,” Wisniewski and Moriarty wrote. “Quite simply, this conduct cannot continue and needs to be immediately addressed.”

Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) and Moriarty (D-Gloucester/Camden) noted the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike rank among the world’s busiest roadways.

“Turnpike Authority workers are ambassadors for our state and we need to be sure they’re all properly trained and prepared for appropriate customer service, ” they wrote. “As we work hard to steer New Jersey through this recession and revive our economy, we cannot afford to have anyone left with a bad impression of our state because of horrendous behavior by a Turnpike Authority worker.”

They asked Simpson to provide them with specifics detailing the customer service training provided to each employee and what the Turnpike Authority plans to do to address the complaints and ensure they don’t happen again.

“The Turnpike Authority can do better,'” the lawmakers wrote. “We expect no less.”

The lawmakers emphasized that most toll workers do a good job.

“Clearly, by far most of these workers do a stellar job in difficult conditions,” they wrote. “They work through all kinds of weather at all hours of the day serving the public and keeping our byways moving as smoothly as possible.”

Moriarty and Wisniewski, in preparation for possible hearings on the complaints, asked the public to share stories of poor customer service by e-mails at AsmDemOffice@njleg.org.

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