Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

C   O   M   M   I   S   S   I   O   N                N   E   W   S             R   E   L   E   A   S   E   

  Contact:  Carl DeFebo, (717) 939-9551 Ext. # 2934 

March 13, 2000



HARRISBURG, PA. — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission today announced the results of an independent survey of Pennsylvania residents who were randomly polled about their satisfaction with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The residents were asked about such areas as smoothness of the ride, travel-plaza services, cost of tolls, roadway safety, traffic conditions and collectors’ conduct. The courtesy and efficiency of Pennsylvania Turnpike toll collectors ranked highest of all those areas surveyed.

Of the nearly 500 telephone interviews with Turnpike users conducted between Oct. 16 and Dec. 16, 1999, 96 percent expressed satisfaction with the efficiency of the toll collectors and 92 percent expressed satisfaction with the courtesy of the toll collectors.

Of those respondents who expressed satisfaction with the efficiency of the toll collectors, 64 percent said they were "very satisfied" and 32 percent said they were "somewhat satisfied." Of those respondents who expressed satisfaction with the courtesy of the toll collectors, 62 percent said they were "very satisfied" and 30 percent said they were "somewhat satisfied."

The Commission employs approximately 1,200 toll collectors who staff more than 210 exit-lane tollbooths at 52 Interchanges.

"Our toll collectors are the Turnpike’s ambassadors — communicating face-to-face with more than 156 million motorists a year," said Deputy Executive Director of Customer Service Gregory R. Richards. "We work hard to instill our dedicated employees with a commitment to customer satisfaction. The results of this poll help prove that this effort is indeed paying off."

Director of Fare Collection Samuel G. Sadler Jr. said that, since the poll was begun more than a decade ago, the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s toll collectors have received satisfaction ratings of higher than 90 percent every year. "That’s an accomplishment that we are quite proud of, especially considering that the industry norm is 75 percent."

Sadler credits these high ratings to the Turnpike’s customer satisfaction training program. All new hires in the fare collection department receive thorough customer satisfaction training, and existing employees undergo an annual refresher course as well. The program, Sadler noted, is made up of a video, a book, classroom instruction, and reenactments of real-life scenarios that the collectors may encounter while on the job.

Ranking a close third behind collector efficiency and collector courtesy was overall satisfaction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which received an 87 percent rating. Of those who expressed overall satisfaction with the Turnpike, 30 percent said they were "very satisfied" and 57 percent said they were "somewhat satisfied."

Turnpike customers rated as their fourth-highest area of satisfaction that of roadway safety. Eighty-four percent of motorists said that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their safety while traveling on the Turnpike.

Among the remaining questions:

  • satisfaction with the quality of the services at the travel plazas ranked fifth with 74 percent;
  • satisfaction with tolls ranked sixth at 73 percent;
  • satisfaction with traffic conditions ranked seventh with 72 percent;
  • and satisfaction with the smoothness of the ride ranked eighth with 71 percent.

In open-ended questioning, motorists said that their favorite safety feature on the Turnpike was the yellow emergency call boxes located at every mile on the 506-mile system. Police patrols/protection was the second most popular answer to the safety feature question.

When asked what they like best about driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the top two responses were because it’s faster/shorter and because of no traffic signals/stop signs.

The 12th annual poll — with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent — was conducted by the Center for Survey Research, a unit of the Institute of State and Regional Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg.


 P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649