Home MTA Bridges and Tunnels A toll both ascends

A toll both ascends

by Benjamin Kabak

To publicize the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge toll booth removal project, the MTA sent along the above photo earlier this week. Taken by Operations Superintendent Marc Levy, it shows toll both number 1, unused since 1986, being hoisted away. Crews will begin to remove the next series of booths this weekend, and traffic patterns on the bridge will change accordingly.

As I noted a few weeks ago, the removal is part of a $2.5-million project aimed at eliminating congestion and bottlenecks at the east-bound entrance to the bridge. The toll booths have been idle for nearly 25 years, and although many believe the MTA should restore two-way tolling on the bridge to cut down on traffic across Canal St., the MTA has opted instead to improve bridge traffic by doing away with the booths altogether.

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Jerrold May 7, 2010 - 5:56 pm

Instead of bring back two-way tolling to deal with the Canal St. situation, couldn’t they make the system “consistent”?
In other words, if at the Verrazano you pay a double toll on the westbound trip, why can’t it be done the same way at the Holland Tunnel and the Lincoln Tunnel? No toll going eastbound and a double toll going westbound. That way we would not have all those trucks entering free via the Verrazano and leaving free via the tunnel.

Alon Levy May 7, 2010 - 10:54 pm

PA doesn’t mind the one-way tolling. Given the asymmetric nature of the peak travel market, it’s not a problem in and of itself. The problem only starts when New York-side bridges are not consistently tolled.

Spencer K May 7, 2010 - 7:01 pm

In point of fact, NJ to SI is not free. You still have to pay a toll. I doubt many trucks are going through the boros to get to Manhattan unless traffic is that bad.

Boris May 7, 2010 - 7:21 pm

The NJ-SI bridges offer a commuter plan, which gives you 50% off if you make at least 20 trips a month (or maybe 25, I don’t remember the exact number). That’s a pretty big incentive. I don’t know if trucks are eligible, but smaller commercial vehicles might be.

Jerrold May 7, 2010 - 9:36 pm

I don’t know for sure, but maybe many of those trucks are making deliveries to BROOKLYN, and then going through Manhattan on the return trip to beat the tolls.
Like maybe they use the Brooklyn Bridge or the Manhattan Bridge, and then the Holland Tunnel.

To Ben:
Weren’t you talking about something like that when you mentioned how Canal St. is being jammed up by toll-avoiding traffic?

Spencer K May 7, 2010 - 10:28 pm

But you still have to pay for the Bayonne, Outerbridge and Goethals coming into Staten Island from NJ, so I still don’t see how it’s free.

Joe from SI May 7, 2010 - 11:04 pm

All of the tolls are incoming to SI, drivers do a big loop so that they pay a smaller fare on the Gothels, Outer, or Bayonne and get into Brooklyn for free.

Scott E May 7, 2010 - 11:07 pm

Let me try to clarify some of the confusion over bridges and tolls.

The bridges from NJ to NY (whether to Manhattan or Staten Island) all have the same toll, one way to York. There’s no negotiating fares, and no way around it short of taking the Tappan Zee or using a boat.

The fares on MTA bridges between boroughs is, in most cases, two-way. On the Verrazano only, it’s one way into Staten Island.

So… a truck traveling to Brooklyn, Queens, or Long Island via the GWB+Triboro would pay a toll at both facilities heading to NY, and only at the Triboro heading to NJ. The same round trip via the Goethals+Verrazano would cost the same. But NY-bound via Staten Island and NJ-bound via the Manhattan Br/Canal St would only be a single Goethals Br. toll. For cash-paying cars, it’s an $11 savings. For trucks, it’s a lot more.

Jerrold May 7, 2010 - 11:13 pm

THAT is what I thought Ben had meant.


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