BASE FARE Thousands of drivers enraged as hidden surcharge in key US city will see cars billed $23 every time they visit

05 Apr 2024

Written by: Rebecca Lee

Published: 18:23 ET, Sep 4 2023

Updated: 18:24 ET, Sep 4, 2023

DRIVERS have expressed outrage as a major U.S. city hits motorists with an extra fine as a part of efforts to deal with road congestion.

On Thursday New York City’s Traffic Mobility Board addressed whether some people should pay more in congestion pricing than others.

On Thursday New York City’s Traffic Mobility Board addressed whether some people should pay more in congestion pricing than others Credit: NBC 4 New York

Controversy regarding what’s to be done regarding congestion in New York City is growing as the planned implementation of fees is less than a year away.

Drivers continue to engage in an ongoing debate over who should pay and how much, NBC affiliate New York 4 reported.

It has been noted that the congestion pricing would be especially unfair for people who are on the road for a living like cab drivers, truck drivers, and bus drivers.

“They kill my business, no more people take the yellow cab now,” a taxi driver told New York 4.

Andrew Greenblatt of the Independent Drivers Guild said: “Uber and Lyft drivers have been taxed since 2019 and now they’re talking about adding a second tax.”

He added: “It’s not the drivers who decide to come into the city, it’s the passengers.”

It is not clear what the base fare to enter Manhattan’s central business district will be set at right now but it could be anywhere from $9 to $23 per trip, New York 4 reported.

Scanners along West End Avenue have been in place for weeks, though the congestion pricing plan isn’t set to go into effect until Spring 2024.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy sent a letter to the Traffic Mobility Board on Thursday reportedly asking that drivers from his state be exempt.

The governor argued that New Jersey residents shouldn’t have to pay for the toll to take the Holland and Lincoln tunnels or George Washington Bridge and then additionally pay an extra fee to go into midtown Manhattan.

He also noted that the toll price should count as a credit toward the fee, to ensure people from the state are not having to pay twice.

As drivers are upset, New Jersey has filed a against the federal government in an effort to block congestion pricing.

Staten Island has reportedly said it plans to sue the MTA over the fee plan as well.

“If the sidewalks of the city are congested or crowded, does that mean we should have a walking tax to deal with the congestion on the sidewalks,” argued Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella.

No new moves have been made regarding who might actually be getting possible exemptions though the city’s council recently held last week’s hearing about the situation.

At the hearing, the City Council said it received requests to exempt residents in certain areas.

The office also received requests asking specifically for it not to exempt those same groups of people.

Medical patients or those who live in areas without good public transit options could be considered, per New York 4.

The revenue generated from the plan will help make NYC’s transit system state of the art, which will benefit everyone, Transit President Richard Davey said.

“That is what congestion pricing is going to buy, investment in our transit system,” Davey started.

“So we’re excited about taking this next step in the approval process.”