NEW YORK - As the implementation of congestion pricing draws nearer, New Yorkers are getting a glimpse of what it might cost to enter the area below 60th Street in Manhattan, and who might be eligible for exemptions or discounts.
On Good Day New York, MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber casually estimated that the fee could be around $15. And while it may have sounded like a jest, MTA sources later confirmed to FOX 5 NY that $15 is indeed the current proposed charge for cars entering the Central Business District (CBD) south of 60th Street.
Hours later, the MTA's Traffic Mobility Review Board, a key player in the congestion pricing plan, unveiled crucial elements of the system.
According to Board Chair Carl Weisbrod, drivers will only be charged when they enter the CBD, with no fees for driving within it or exiting.
In consideration of toll-paying drivers passing through tunnels, a discount, referred to as a 'crossing credit,' will be applied. Trucks, due to their larger size and increased space occupancy, will incur higher charges. Commuter buses and specific government vehicles will be exempt from congestion pricing. Additionally, low-income drivers will receive a 50% discount after their initial 10 trips.
Inside and outside the MTA board meeting, drivers demanded exemptions, including for taxis and for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft. To their relief, the board announced - instead of drivers being charged a daily toll, a smaller per-toll fee will be charged to their passengers.
Sources tell FOX 5 NY that businesses employing vehicles smaller than a box truck, such as vans, will enjoy a similar fee structure as regular cars.
The remaining debates include addressing variables like nighttime hours and discounts, how much of a discount the crossing credit will grant and the per-ride toll for taxis and for-hire vehicles.
Transit experts say the plan may start charging drivers beginning May 2024.