This is my place of work. I work on the toll booths for the bridges that separate England from Wales.
It may not seem the most exciting job in the world but I love my job.
It helps pay for the roof over my head and put food on the table. It pays towards the bills and enables us to have some fun family times. It teaches my children the value of working and also teaches them that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Some days I’m sure they look forward to me going to work, but most days I just know that they are excited that I come home.
Work isn’t just a job, it’s my me time. I love to welcome people into my beautiful homeland of Wales and I always reassure them that £5.60 is truly a bargain.
I work with the most loveliest of people. The tolling staff are a close-knit bunch of people that have made me feel comfortable in my surroundings. I chat at ease at work, to colleagues and customers alike and it’s the most wonderful ‘me time’ you could ever have.
The bridge tolls are being abolished next week and I shall be redundant along with my colleagues in most part.
I will miss pulling on my hi-viz to play Frogger to cross the lanes to get into my allocated booth.
I shall miss welcoming the world to Wales.
But it’s been the loveliest job in the world.
If you’re crossing the bridges over the next few weeks then, by all means, be happy that you won’t have to pay for much longer. But also remember that there won’t be anyone to welcome you to Wales anymore. The bridge tolls have become a tradition over the past 50 years and paying the toll always feels a little begrudgingly symbolic and gives many a feeling of coming home… £5.60, please.
Not only did I work in the booths but I enjoyed taking time out to walk under the bridge, with my family or alone, for half an hour at the beginning or end of my shifts. I liked to take photos of the awesomeness of the bridge as it has such an alluring beauty that I never tire of.
It really has been a pleasure, in all forms. A pleasure that I will miss.
*The government decided that the tolls were to be abolished. I’m not one to get caught up in politics but in my opinion, completely abolishing the tolls is a ludicrous choice. That’s not an opinion I form due to redundancy but just purely on the basis that to me it does not make sense. The bridge tolls are such a huge revenue that even by reducing them to a minimum, that revenue could have been used as an income for the greater good that I’m sure people wouldn’t begrudge. As it stands, even with the tolls gone, we still have to pay for the upkeep of the bridge. And even with the most limited of knowledge, I can’t see how abolishing them will be of benefit. Maybe that’s why my chosen career was as a toll collector and not a politician.
If I haven’t already bored you with photos then here are a few more of my times spent in the company of the gateway to Wales. The best £5.60 ever spent.