Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Editors keep readers in the dark on discounts

George Washington BridgeImage via Wikipedia
Some drivers pay only $2 to cross the bridge.

In the thousands of words published by The Record on the proposed Hudson River toll and fare hikes, have you seen anything about the "Carpool Plan"?

The "Carpool Plan" is Port Authority code for the deepest discount available to drivers at the agency's bridges and tunnels -- only $2 at all times when you have three people in the car.

Drivers with E-ZPass must register with their service center, then stop in a Cash/E-ZPass lane so the toll taker can confirm the number of people in the vehicle.

It even makes sense to stop at the George Washington Bridge bus stop in Fort Lee and pick up one or two people headed to New York to get the discount.

Will the "Carpool Plan" be affected by the proposed toll and fare hikes? Stay tuned. Before a toll hike in 2008, the little-publicized carpool toll was $1.

I called the New Jersey E-ZPass Service Center today and learned of a 10% senior discount for the turnpike and parkway. Have you read about that discount in The Wretched?

From the Port Authority Web site:

Carpooling is both eco-conscious and the most economical way to travel.
The Port Authority Carpool Plan provides the largest toll discount at the Port Authority bridges and tunnels. By carpooling, you save the most money and reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
  • The toll for Port Authority Carpool customers is $2 per vehicle at all hours.
  • You must have an E-ZPass account and you must register for the Port Authority Carpool Discount Plan.
  • To register for the Carpool Plan, call 800-333-8655 (New York Service Center) or 888-288-6865 (New Jersey Service Center). Be sure to have your account number or tag number and PIN for account access.
  • Three or more people must be in a vehicle to be eligible for the discount (no commercial vehicles qualify).
  • Customers must use a staffed "Cash-E-ZPass" toll lane and come to a complete stop so the toll collector can verify the number of occupants in the vehicle.

See below: When Christie barks, reporters scatter

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  1. Why don't they promote that? Pretty damn good.

  2. Doesn't stopping at a staffed toll lane defeat the purpose of EZ Pass?

  3. True. But the savings are worth it.

    I guess they are afraid if it was automatically given, people would take the discount and ride by themselves into the city.

    You have to stop to verify you have three people in the car. Do they have to be alive? What about dummies?

  4. The proposed toll increase includes a 200% increase in the Carpool toll from $2 to $6 (and then to $8 in 2014).

  5. I saw that in Monday's story on L-2.

    The Record needs to report the Port Authority has never wanted to get drivers out of their cars, because it would be cutting its own revenue.

    Raising the car pool toll to $6 is ridiculous.

    I'm going out on a limb and predicting an immediate $2 toll hike and a $1 hike in the car-pool toll, and a 50-cent hike in PATH fares.

    The second hike in tolls will be $1, with no change in the others.

    Another discount the paper hasn't discussed is the one for hybrid cars. Does that change, too?

    I have two hybrids, so I'm going to do some research, and plan to weigh in at the online hearing today at 2 p.m.


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