This oral history was based on 19 hours of digitally recorded interviews with 11 people who have been involved in all aspects of tolling, including toll collectors, supervisors and managers and technicians and engineers.
It discusses the evolution of tolling on Sydney’s icon - from the early days of collectors standing on platforms exposed to the weather, to the construction of fixed and movable toll booths, the introduction of one-way tolling, tokens, vouchers and automatic cash payment, to the arrival of electronic ETag technology and the bridge going cashless.
The story includes both the human and technical aspects of toll collection and administration - issues not generally well understood by the travelling public.
The MP3 sound files below feature some of the key themes explored in this project. Compiled MP3 excerpts from previous oral histories may also be accessed on Transport for NSW (TfNSW) website, in the subject selection box on the right side of this screen.
The opinions expressed in the oral history interview tapes are those of the individuals concerned and do not necessarily represent in whole or in part the position of TfNSW.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Tolling whole sound file (MP3)
Oral history of Sydney Harbour Bridge Tolling - one sound file (MP3, 40.27 MB)
Sydney Harbour Bridge Tolling individual sound files (MP3)
Individual sound files parts 1 - 6
Part 1 - Introduction / Toll Fees / Evasion Strategies / Toll Plaza Changes / 1940s Traffic Growth (MP3, 5.53 MB)
Part 2 - Tram Track Conversion / New Toll Booths & Cabin Safety / Beginnings of Electronic Toll Registration (MP3, 4.24 MB)
Part 3 - 1960s and 1970s Burgeoning Traffic / Automatic Coin Collection / One-way Tolling / Movable Toll Cabins / Prepaid Toll Tokens / First Computer-based Toll Registration System (MP3, 5.61 MB)
Part 4 - Rising Tolls - 1990s / Sydney Harbour Tunnel and Tolling / Electronic Tolling Pilot / Challenges with Changeover to e-Tolling / Time of Day Tolling (MP3, 6.1 MB)
Part 5 - Staffing Roles and Personal Reflections / Rostering / Shifts / Toll Collector's Routine (MP3, 5.02 MB)
Part 6 - Counting the Daily Cash Takings / Theft & Robbery / Challenges & Dangers of Toll Collecting / Safety Issues (MP3, 5.34 MB)