New York’s state Assembly recently proposed congestion pricing plan could force Uber and taxi customers to pay fees, while private vehicles and commercial trucks would face the same chargers to drive into Manhattan, according to the New York Post.
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The proposed bill would required a $2.75 surcharge for all Uber rides that occur in the city’s central business district and $1 everywhere else in New York state. The surcharge would be in addition to the 8.875 percent sales tax customers pay for rides now. Meanwhile, yellow cab customers would only pay an extra $0.50 charge within Manhattan’s congestion zone.
A “Fix NYC” panel report stated it could take up to two years to fully implement congestion pricing if it’s approved by New York Legislature, the Post wrote in January. Some aspects could start to affect cabs and car services sooner, however.
“It’s going to accomplish a good deal to reduce congestion and raise revenue to improve transit. The fees for the for-hire vehicles will happen this year,” said Sam Schwartz, a former top city transportation official who helped work on the report.
The plan also encourages authorities to enforce traffic laws like, “Don’t block the box” and no idling more aggressively, sources told the Post. The plan’s other goal is to raise money, in the hundreds of millions, for New City’s subway system. According to New York University professor and panel member Mitchell Moss, the plan is way overdue.
“The subway has superseded crime and the schools as the key challenge facing New York,” he said.
Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, who’s also on the panel recommended a surcharge on tour buses that congest Manhattan’s streets along with the for-hire vehicle trips.
“We tried to find a cure that dealt the least amount of damage,” Molinaro said.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo suggested he’s put his political weight behind the panel’s congestion pricing plan, and believes technology is available to put in a pricing program without much disruption. Cuomo also said the new cashless toll tech that’s used at tunnels and bridges could be part of the congestion pricing program, too.
“We have the ability with technology to put tolling anywhere in the city,” he said. “So we can be very flexible and variable, so there are a lot of options.
There was no mention of charging private cars or commercial trucks in the bill, however. Both advocates and transportation companies are unhappy with the proposal. They stated it won’t help decrease traffic in Manhattan without tolling private and commercial drivers, too.
“If we’re going to do this right and make a significant dent in traffic and also fix and modernize the flailing transit system, we have to go the full distance,” said Alex Matthiessen, spokesman for MoveNY, which has been touting congestion pricing for years.
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