The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is reminding motorists that split tolling collection begins at 12:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 01, 2020, in accordance with federal law and approval by the MTA Board. As a result of the change, tolls will be collected in both the Staten Island- and Brooklyn-bound directions with the toll charged to motorists entering Staten Island and Brooklyn at an effective rate of $6.12 for NY-issued E-ZPass users, $9.50 for Tolls by Mail, $2.75 (post-rebate) for Staten Island residents, and $1.70 for Staten Island carpool customers. The effective toll for a round trip and the Staten Island resident discount remain unchanged.
“There will be no change to the customer environment as a result of split tolling thanks to our current open road tolling technology,” said Daniel F. DeCrescenzo, Jr., President of MTA Bridges & Tunnels. “The transition will be as smooth and seamless as possible. I would also like to remind our customers they can pay their tolls and manage their E-ZPass and Tolls by Mail accounts easily and conveniently with the free Tolls NY mobile app.”
The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge has been the country’s only bridge with federally-mandated one-direction tolling for more than three decades until Congress amended the directive. Split-tolling is expected to reduce the number of regional motorists who had cut through Staten Island – estimated at 7,000 per weekday pre-pandemic – in order to take advantage of the previous method of toll collection westbound only. The undiscounted one-way and round-trip toll rates will match those at the Hugh L. Carey and Queens-Midtown Tunnels and Bronx-Whitestone, Robert F. Kennedy and Throgs Neck Bridges.
The following new split-toll collection – for passenger vehicles in each direction – takes effect on Tuesday, December 01, 2020:
- NY-issued E-ZPass: $6:12
- Tolls by Mail: $9.50
- Staten Island Resident E-ZPass effective, post-rebate toll: $2.75
- Staten Island Resident Carpool Plan HOV E-ZPass: $1.70
New signs are being placed in the eastbound and westbound directions and the MTA has notified navigation apps including Google, Waze, Apple, and TomTom.
Tolls have been collected in only the westbound direction since March 20, 1986, under a federal law that aimed to halve stop-and-go traffic at Staten Island toll booths at a time before E-ZPass and resulting backups. Instead, the law has long been blamed for worsening traffic citywide by encouraging New Jersey-bound motorists and truckers to avoid the doubled toll collection by taking a lengthy, congested route over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Manhattan Bridge and Canal Street to reach the westbound toll-free Holland Tunnel. At the same time, the one-way tolling was seen as increasing traffic through Staten Island by inviting out-of-state truckers to use the Staten Island Expressway for essentially free travel toward Brooklyn, Long Island and New England.
E-ZPass began reducing traffic congestion in 1996, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge’s remaining toll booths were decommissioned in July 2017 as MTA Bridges and Tunnels transitioned to Open Road Tolling. The one-way mandate was repealed last year by legislation sponsored by Representative Rose.
The work builds on a broad range of initiatives undertaken by the MTA in recent years to improve commute times for Staten Islanders. The Authority instituted a seventh lane on the bridge — a reversible HOV lane — and added cashless tolling in 2017. Staten Island was also the first borough to undergo a wholesale overhaul and modernization of its express bus network, in 2018, an undertaking that has resulted in faster bus speeds and more efficient service throughout the borough. Motorists looking for more detail can visit MTA’s dedicayed web page here.
The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is among the busiest bridges in the country, logging more than 215,000 vehicular crossings on weekdays prior to the CoViD-19 pandemic.