Home Fare Hikes MTA Board approves bridge and tunnel toll hike

MTA Board approves bridge and tunnel toll hike

by Benjamin Kabak

As the final piece of the 2011 fare hikes, the MTA Board voted this morning to approve toll increases on its bridges and tunnels across the city. The rate hike targets those who pay in cash over those who use their E-ZPasses, and the authority expects an increase in revenue at its seven bridges and two tunnels of 7.5 percent. The hikes will go into effect on December 30, 2010.

The authority board had delayed its vote on the bridge and tunnel increases due to feedback received during the public hearings in September. Originally, the authority had planned a blanket increase across the board, but many commuters and politicians urged the authority to “only cash tolls in order to encourage the use of E-ZPass and thereby reduce toll collection expenses and traffic congestion.” After careful review, the Board decided on a 5 percent E-ZPress increase instead of a 10 percent hike and a $1 cash increase at major crossings.

The Board also announced a new plan to expand E-ZPass access as well. Beginning in 2011, the MTA will introduce a card that works similar to a pre-paid debit card. Drivers will be able to reload their E-ZPass accounts with cash using this debit card at hundreds of stores in the region. More details about the plan will be released at a later date.

The fare hikes follow. Major crossings include the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, Queens Midtown Tunnel, RFK Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The Rockaway Crossings are the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Marine Parkway- Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.

Toll Type Current Toll Rate After 12/30/10
Cash $5.50 $6.50
E-ZPass $4.57 $4.80
Verrazano SI Resident E-ZPass. Westbound only. $5.48 $5.76
Verrazano SI Carpool Toll. Westbound only $2.56 $2.68
Cash $3.00 $4.00
E-ZPass $2.09 $2.20
Cash $2.75 $3.25
E-ZPass $1.71 $1.80
Rockaway Resident E-ZPass $1.13 $1.19

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Josh H October 27, 2010 - 5:56 pm

Meh. This is increase is just going to exacerbate the tendency of drivers to avoid the Triboro Bridge and Midtown and Battery Tunnels in favor of the 59th Street, Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. More congestion in downtown Brooklyn, yippee!

Gary October 28, 2010 - 11:30 am

Within three years, the die will be cast for tolling the free crossings you mentioned.

Cashless tolling at all MTA bridges and tunnels (and the free crossings) within 5 years. Count on it.

Andrew October 27, 2010 - 9:56 pm

Excuse me? A mere 5% increase with E-ZPass, at the same time as a 17% increase for the monthly MetroCard (and a 7% increase in the effective fare for people who buy MetroCards with the bonus)? And that’s on top of the June service cuts. What’s going on here?

Edward October 28, 2010 - 10:04 am

Because your fare, whether pay-per-ride or unlimited, does not even come close to paying for your ride. You’d have to pony up about $6 a pop to come close to covering all the expenses relative to a subway ride.

Bridge and tunnel tolls not only pay for the use of the bridge/tunnel, but much more of it goes toward…subsidizing your extra-cheap subway and bus ride. It costs the MTA about $1 for drivers to use most of their facilities, yet they charge anywhere from $5.50 to $11 for auto drivers (and much more for trucks), a big chunk of which goes toward keeping your subway commute cheap.

Therefore, subway and bus riders (and LIRR/Metro-North commuters) should be grateful that there are enough drivers out there who are paying through the nose to keep your subway ride dirt cheap. You’re welcome.

Andrew November 4, 2010 - 11:42 pm

What’s your source for a subway farebox recovery ratio of 23.5%? Every source I’ve seen has it much higher – the NTD pegs it as closer to 67%.

What’s your source for the $1 cost for the bridges and tunnels?

For people with EZPass, none of the bridges or tunnels cost more than $4.57 per trip (and for Staten Island residents – but not Brooklyn residents! – the Verrazano toll drops to a mere $2.74 per trip).

I’m sure you don’t only drive across bridges. Did it occur to you that it costs something to maintain the city streets as well? There is no toll charged to drive on city streets. There isn’t even a charge to store your vehicle on public property in most places, and where there is, it’s tiny.

Finally, as a driver, do you realize what will happen to your drive if even 10% of today’s transit riders shift to driving? Is that really what you want?


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