MTA Chair Reveals Start Date for NYC Congestion Pricing Plan

New York City’s highly debated congestion pricing initiative has now been given an official start date.

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber made the announcement on Friday, revealing that the plan will commence for New Yorkers on the early hours of Sunday, June 30, at precisely 12:00:01 a.m.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Lieber remarked, “I am thrilled. It’s a beautiful spring day in New York, and I’m surrounded by tourists and residents who have arrived in lower Manhattan via mass transit. Over ninety percent of people entering the congestion zone, the central business district, rely on walking, biking, and primarily, mass transit. We are a city built on mass transit, and we aim to enhance the New York experience even further.”

The toll, set at $15, will be enforced for vehicles traveling below 60th Street during peak traffic hours.

Lieber clarified that as the congestion pricing begins at midnight on the morning of June 30, the initial users will only be subjected to the nighttime fare of $3.75. The full $15 fee will only apply starting at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning.

Authorities anticipate that the toll implementation will lead to a reduction of 100,000 vehicles entering the Congestion Relief Zone daily, resulting in diminished traffic congestion, improved air quality, and increased revenue to support essential transit investments.

“Five years following the enactment of congestion pricing into New York State law, and after extensive analysis spanning 4,000 pages, along with numerous hearings and outreach sessions, New Yorkers are poised to reap the benefits – reduced traffic, cleaner air, safer streets, and enhanced transit,” stated Lieber.

The final tolling framework, crafted based on recommendations from the advisory panel, entails the following:

– Most passenger vehicles and those with commercial license plates designated as passenger-type vehicles will face a $15 toll during peak hours (5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends), with an overnight fee of $3.75. These vehicles will be charged once per day.

– Trucks and buses will incur tolls of $24 or $36 during peak hours, contingent on their size and purpose. Overnight tolls for these vehicles will be $6 and $8. Motorcycles will be subject to a $7.50 toll, limited to once per day.

Passengers using taxis, green cabs, and for-hire vehicles will face a toll of $1.25 per trip, while trips dispatched by high-volume for-hire services like Uber and Lyft will incur a $2.50 toll per trip. No discounts will be offered during nighttime hours.

“July and August mark the slowest periods of the year for yellow cabs, with many New Yorkers opting for walking or vacations outside the city,” remarked Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. “During some August weeks, Manhattan feels deserted, leaving drivers to aimlessly circle for hours in search of fares. Implementing a third tax during this dreaded summer lull will make survival nearly impossible for already struggling cab drivers. The Governor must intervene promptly, before irreparable damage occurs.”

Additionally, the MTA introduced a portal on Friday for individuals seeking information on eligibility for discounts or exemptions. Applications for exemptions can be submitted starting Friday.

Exemptions encompass a low-income discount plan, individual disability exemption plan, organizational disability exemption plan, emergency vehicles, buses, commuter vans, and specialized government vehicles.

“We aim to ensure that individuals have ample time to apply for discounts and exemptions,” stated Lieber. “People with disabilities are entitled to full exemptions, while low-income individuals qualify for significant discounts. Providing adequate time for these processes is essential.”

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