FORT LEE, N.J. – A discount that allowed cars with three or more passengers to pay half price on New York City bridges and tunnels will soon end for some of those crossings.
The carpool discount, which was credited with reducing traffic and helping the environment, will be eliminated on the George Washington Bridge, and Holland and Lincoln tunnels as of Jan. 5. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey made the announcement in an email sent to drivers.
The Port Authority said that with cashless tolls coming on these crossways, the cameras cannot tell how many passengers a car has. An estimated 3 percent of, or 8,000, vehicles took advantage of the discount daily.
One New Jersey lawmaker is pushing back against the plan, which he said would cost drivers thousands of dollars and lead to greater congestion.
“Eliminating carpool lane will cost many New Jersey residents thousands of dollars a year in new tolls, add a ton of new cars on to the bridge and increase air pollution,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat who represents the district immediately adjacent to the affected bridge and tunnels. “That’s a lose-lose-lose for absolutely everyone.”
Gottheimer denied that cashless tolling cannot work with carpool lanes, noting that the technology is currently being used in California, Massachusetts and Georgia.
The carpool discount had previously been eliminated at the Bayonne and Goethals bridges and Outerbridge Crossing in the past three years.