Watch CBS News

Port Authority Approves Fare Hikes At Bridges, Tunnels And Area Airports

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - If you drive between New York to New Jersey using bridges or tunnels, hop on a path train or take the AirTran to area airports, it will soon cost more.

Today the Port Authority approved hikes in tolls and fares.

The proposal impacts commuters across the board – from drivers who use bridges and tunnels, to PATH riders who are used to saving on multi-trip tickets.

"It's just another added expense in the day-to-day," said PATH commuter Kevin Harrington.

"I think it's kind of ridiculous. We're already paying so much for the PATH, considering the service," commuter Kat Ruhno added.

The Port Authority says the increases are necessary to keep up with inflation and improve area infrastructure.

The George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Outerbridge Crossing, PATH stations and John F. Kennedy International Airport are just some of the transportation hubs the agency is in charge of maintaining. In order to help fund more than $30 billion in capital projects, commuters will be asked to pay more to get around.

Web Extras: Closer look at proposed toll and fare hikes | See the schedule

The plan would raise bridge and tunnel cash tolls from $15 round-trip to $16 by 2020. E-ZPass also goes up from $12.50 to $13.75 peak. The carpool discount will stay the same.

"We do a lot of work in New York City. We're a glass company. So we're constantly in-and-out, back-and-forth," said Martin Anico, of Unique Glass and Doors LLC. "That's definitely going to take a toll."

For PATH riders, a 10-day Smartlink card will rise from $21 to $26. A 30-day unlimited card goes from $89 to $110.25.

App-based drivers face an up-to-$2.50 surcharge when picking up or dropping off passengers at airports. Taxi drivers face a $1.25 surcharge for pick-ups only.

When the Port Authority released the proposal in June, Bhairavi Desai, with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, said the union will ask its 22,000 members to strike if the fares are approved.

"There's an unprecedented crisis for the drivers in this industry," she told CBS2. "Uber and Lyft drivers are still earning below minimum wage."

The plan originally called for a $4 surcharge, but was lowered to $2.50 after backlash from the Independent Drivers Guild.

"We urged the Port Authority to reduce these fees on our members and we are pleased they listened to our concerns, reducing the airport access fee from $4 to $2.50. However, this proposal still singles out for-hire vehicle drivers, and places the burden on the lowest income and most precarious workers serving our region," the group said in a statement. "We urge the Board to further reduce the fees on for-hire vehicle trips."

For travelers who prefer the AirTrain, expect a hike from $5 to $7.75.

The Port Authority held six hearings for public comment. Commuter Tom McDonald, of Bayonne, said he's willing to shell out the extra money for infrastructure improvements.

"In order to make things better, sometimes you have to increase certain price," he said. "Two or three dollars more, then I'd be really concerned, but a couple of quarters here and there, that's fine."

Others like Carol Kieltyka, of Hoboken, felt differently.

"I think the prices are high already," she said. "I don't think they should do it."

Most of the hikes take effect next year. However, some of the changes – like the PATH and AirTrain increases – will happen as soon as November.

Click here for a closer look at the toll and fare hikes.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.