To the editor:
Just recently, headed west on the Kansas Turnpike, I turned off at the East Lawrence exit. As a Kansas University grad, there’s a bit of nostalgic pleasure in taking that turnoff. But that pleasure was soon to be dissipated.
Too late, I saw I had turned into a toll gate marked “self-pay.” Ah, those KTA “innovations”! With two cars waiting behind me, I found a “self-check-out” lane — on the turnpike! Some grocery stores have eliminated the self-check-out, because of citizen frustration with negotiating the machinery — and they have bar codes!
As the cars behind waited impatiently, I dug through my pockets seeking exact change and, in the process, had to decipher where to put the bills, what slot the ticket went into and what to do when I did not have exact change. Finally I dug two dollars from my billfold for the $1.65 fare, and felt too rushed to wait for the change. No friendly human face was there to expedite matters or apply the personal touch.
Finally, I escaped the toll booth, feeling the toll taken on me was far more than the toll taken from me. My first thought was: “What *@#& genius thought this up?”
KTA says this is all done for efficiency and no one has been laid off. But as they admit, worker hours once available have been reduced “to keep tolls low.” I respectfully suggest they can find a way to “keep tolls low” (especially after they were recently increased) besides this depersonalizing and counter-intuitive ‘efficiency’ measure.