Date: Mar 22, 2001
Press Release Number: 43-2001
At 3 a.m. on Sunday, March 25, tolls on the Port Authority\'s bridges and tunnels will increase for the first time in 10 years, signaling the start of a unique congestion pricing plan designed to address a growing traffic problem in the New York-New Jersey region.
Simultaneously, a new fare structure will begin on the PATH interstate rapid transit system, with deep discounts for those who buy multi-trip tickets aimed at encouraging mass transit use. The fare increase is the first on PATH since 1987.
This week, final preparations for the change are underway. Port Authority staff has reprogramming computers in each of the agency\'s 74 toll lanes, and placed signs alerting motorists to the new tolls. And brochures and fliers will continue to be distributed to customers informing them about the new fares, and about how to register for E-ZPass, which is the only way customers can receive discounts from the new cash toll.
At PATH, turnstiles at all 13 stations will be adjusted hours before the fare increase. Ticket vending machines have been prepared to issue the new QuickCards. And new signs have been installed alerting travelers to the new fares.
\"This new toll and fare structure signals our intent to decisively tackle the serious and growing problem of traffic congestion in the New York-New Jersey region,\" said Port Authority Chief Operating Officer Ernesto L. Butcher.
\"It now takes one-third longer to make a peak-hour trip from New Jersey to New York than it did 10 years ago, which is simply not acceptable,\" Mr. Butcher said. \"E-ZPass has helped significantly, but we need to continue to seek creative uses of E-ZPass technology to reduce congestion. Congestion pricing should encourage travelers to avoid the most congested hours, which will improve interstate transportation.\"
Under the new pricing plan, the cash toll at the Port Authority\'s six crossings - the Goethals, Bayonne and George Washington bridges, the Outerbridge Crossing and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels - will be $6. Drivers in cars who use E-ZPass will pay $5 during peak periods and $4 off-peak. Truckers with E-ZPass will pay a $5 per axle toll if they use the crossings during off-peak periods, and $3.50 per axle if they travel during the weekday overnight hours of midnight to 6 a.m. \"Our primary goal is to improve congestion in the region,\" said Ken Philmus, the Port Authority\'s Director of Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals. \"Another goal is to convince all of our customers that E-ZPass will allow them to save both time and money.\"
At PATH, the basic one-way fare will be $1.50 under the new pricing plan. Customers who buy an 11-trip QuickCard will pay $1.36 per trip; and those who buy 20- or 40-trip QuickCards will pay $1.20 per trip.
\"The Port Authority would like to encourage customers to use QuickCards so that they can take advantage of the deep discounts they provide,\" said PATH Director/General Manager Michael P. DePallo. \"We will provide a wide variety of options for customers to buy QuickCards, including more ticket vending machines, additional newsstand vendors and, for the first time, the ability to buy QuickCards on the Internet at www.pathrail.com.\"
The toll and fare increase will support the Port Authority\'s $9 billion, five-year capital program, which will provide funds to maintain and renew bridges and tunnels, install \"smart highway\' technology to improve traffic flow, purchase new PATH cars and upgrade PATH\'s existing signal system.
\"This new toll and fare structure is a well-reasoned plan that will address traffic congestion by providing travelers with an incentive to change their commuting habits to off-peak hours, and by encouraging the use of mass transit,\" Mr. Butcher said.