Toll Booths Disappear as Fees Rise
Rockland, Westchester Commuters Not Affected By Bridge Toll Hike
By Kathy Kahn
As if New Yorkers aren’t smarting enough from the price hikes that are going on all around them, the Thruway Authority announced tolls on the Cuomo crossing between Rockland and Westchester are going up January 1. Originally $3.00 for a Commuter EZ Pass that charge will increase to $3.15 in 2021 and again in 2022 to $3.34. The “new” Resident EZ Pass fees remain $4.75 through 2022 for Rockland and Westchester commuters, but standard EZ Pass will rise from $4.75 to $5.25 in 2021 and again to $5.75 in 2022. For out-of-state EZ pass holders, the $5.00 they now pay will rise to $6.04 in 2021 and to $6.6l in 2022. Tolls by Mail will rise from $5.00 to $6.83 in 2021 and again in 2022 to $7.48, with an additional $2.00 fee to boot—perhaps a not-so-gentle reminder to break down and buy an EZPass.
The impending toll hike was originally proposed by the Thruway Authority in 2019 and marks the first time in a decade that the Thruway Authority has adjusted its pricing. Toll revenue decreased an estimated 17% this year likely due to travel restrictions spurred by the outbreak of Covid 19.
Truck drivers will be among those hardest hit by the increases, with the number of axles on their trucks dictating the new rate, which runs from $32.75 for five axles during peak hours but jumps to $42.90 on January 1 and to $56.77 in 2022—and the fares increases with the number of axles. The Thruway Authority is touting the fact that the toll increase on the Mario Cuomo Bridge is nearly 60 percent lower than those on the George Washington Bridge. Tolls on the remainder of the NYS Thruway system will remain untouched—for the time being.
Along with a 30 percent increase in all tolls for those traveling through the Hudson Valley and beyond, travelers will also be challenged by the cashless tolling system, which has removed any vestige of human contact along the 585-mile long highway. While Rockland’s few toll booths have been removed from its landscape, other spots further upstate are not so fortunate. Passing through the toll barriers can be an exercise in caution when going 65 miles an hour. The lack of human contact at the toll booths may leave many drivers wary of their surroundings and frustrated by the lack of in-person service they’ve come to rely on during the sixty years they’ve traveled the Thruway.
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