NEW YORK - It's been a long road back for Broadway after the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are growing fears that congestion pricing could curtail its recovery to its pre-pandemic attendance numbers.
According to a recent report by the Broadway League, the 2022-23 season saw attendance rise to 83% of pre-pandemic numbers.
But advocates say congestion pricing, which forces cars that enter Manhattan at 60th Street and below to pay an additional $15, could stop things from ever getting back to the way they had been just a few years ago.
"Now is not the time to put congestion pricing," said the Broadway Association's chairwoman Christyne Nicholas. "If you keep putting more impediments into getting people into the city, they’re going to do what they’re doing now, which is staying home."
"Having that extra 15-dollar price on top of what you're paying to get in here, yeah I would not come to a Broadway show at all," one in Midtown commented.
"Inflation is already crazy as it is. I don't see any point in making things worse or harder for people who just want to see a show or be in the area," another agreed.
MTA officials expect the plan to pay off with cleaner air and a billion-dollar boost the agency can apply to maintaining its fleet.
They argue those paying hundreds for tickets, meals, and parking in midtown won’t be moved much by a 15-dollar congestion charge: some agree.
"So, it's a little bit more money it’s just a great place to be," added another.
Last week the MTA board approved the plan--beginning a 60-day commentary period.
Nicholas though is holding out hope for a different approach.
"Maybe you toll all of the bridges because it is a privilege to drive but if you tolled them at 2.50, 2.75, the price of a Metro Card then they would raise more money quickly," she told FOX 5.