Mar 072011
 

FL Turnpike sign

I don’t know when you last drove on one of the toll roads operated by the Florida Turnpike Authority, but believe you me, it can be an expensive experience.  What do they do – pave the roads with gold?

Anyway, so there you are, pulling up to the ticket collector’s box, and you’re due to pay maybe a $7 or greater toll.  The good news is that the Florida Turnpike website says

Customers can pay their toll with cash (U.S. Currency) on Turnpike facilities.

That’s kinda sorta what you’d expect, right?  Indeed, they won’t even take a credit card.  If you don’t have one of their Sun Pass transponders, your only other choice is to reach into your wallet and pull out some green.

But – wait.  You’ve got a couple of dollar bills, and then nothing smaller than a twenty.  No problem, you pass it over to the toll collector, and they tell you you’ve got to show some photo ID and refuse to let you leave the toll booth until you do.

If you object, they threaten to call the Florida Highway Patrol to presumably arrest you or force you to show ID.

And if you complain to the Turnpike management, they’ll deny it ever happens.

But a FL resident took a series of recordings to prove how widespread the practice of demanding ID before changing $20, $50 and $100 bills was, and subsquent document discovery action against the Turnpike Authority showed them scrambling to erect a facade of obfuscation and lies about the program.

Here’s a fascinating expose on what has been going on – be sure to watch the video in the top right as well as to read the article.

What is not explained by the Turnpike Authority is why they did it.  Sure – there’s an excuse – to catch counterfeiters; but in the 885 occasions when they received counterfeit bills, they never once passed the information about who presented the bill to them, to either the local authorities or the US Secret Service.  And a much simpler approach would be to do what any store does – to simply use a counterfeit detecting pen on the banknotes.

Some bully boy is on his own little power trip, just because he can.

The Authority is now anticipating being on the receiving end of a huge class action lawsuit that could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.  But where will this money come from?  From the citizens of FL – the same people who have been bullied illegally by the Turnpike Authority into unnecessarily showing ID.

How many people will lose their jobs over this?  You know the answer to this already, don’t you – no-one.  Will anyone lose their pension?  No, almost certainly not.  And that’s the real outrage.  Public service employees shamefully and shamelessly abuse their jobs, with no negative consequences whatsoever.

 

  3 Responses to “US Legal Tender – ie Cash – Not Accepted Without ID on FL Turnpike”

  1. Shouldn’t be surprising if the FTA did decide to use so-called “counterfeit detecting pens”. Because they don’t work. They are a triumph of marketing. Only the clueless stores use them. They are only starch detectors.

    (The pen procedure is apparently designed to penalize people who thicken their soups with cornstarch when no one is looking, and then don’t wash up before handling money.)

    Given that few counterfeiters would be using starched paper, its no surprise that pens are not one of the ways the Secret Service suggests for checking paper money, http://www.secretservice.gov/money_detect.shtml.

    So if a pen is insisted on, try a pen-style pocket microscope.

    • PS

      Individuals would not be expected to know about these fake pens, as they don’t handle the amount of cash stores do.

      As a dubious alternative explanation for their use, I have yet to hear that the fake pens are intended just to scare off those intending to use counterfeit cash. They would likely know the pens don’t work.)

  2. […] US Legal Tender – ie Cash – Not Accepted Without ID on FL Turnpike Read more…   […]

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