New York congestion pricing: How much for a drive to Manhattan?

April 7, 2021

Finally, the wait is over. The U.S. Department of Transportation says New York can proceed with the congestion pricing plan. So now it’s time to talk numbers and figure out how it’s going to work and how big the congestion surcharge will be.

What is congestion pricing?

But first, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the MTA congestion pricing plan. This is a new way to charge drivers entering the busiest districts of New York City during peak hours.

Specific congestion zones are already defined, and it will work like a regular toll for entering these areas.  

The map of congestion zones will include most parts of Manhattan below 60th Street, but won’t the FDR Drive and the West Side Highway will be excluded.

MTA is sure that this proposal will help them land more than $15 billion in revenue that they’ll use to improve the city’s infrastructure and public transportation.

And of course, this also reduces traffic and pollution, which is a win-win considering we all aim to save our planet.

How much for a drive to Manhattan?

It’s time to figure out what kind of NYC congestion surcharge we will face.

717,000 vehicles are entering Manhattan from south of Central Park daily. Every driver of a regular vehicle will have to pay around the $11 toll charge. Truck drivers will face a $25 toll bill.

The crucial part to keep in mind here is that it’s a daily charge, meaning you’ll only have to pay once.

Also, the Manhattan congestion pricing will be variable. You’ll pay more during peak hours, less during weekends and off-hours.

Who won’t have to pay?

Some drivers will be excluded from this program and won’t have to pay. For example, everyone coming through the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels can forget about the New York City congestion pricing. The reason is simple – they already pay $16 toll charges.

Unfortunately, the fate of drivers coming through George Washington Bridge is not sorted out yet. There is a serious threat of facing a double-toll and this means paying up to $3,000 a year on top of their regular expenses.

We know, that doesn’t sound right. That is why the talks are still in progress and those NJ drivers can be exempted from the NYC congestion pricing plan after all.

Will it actually work?

One thing, in particular, creates a lot of doubts around the congestion zone charge map – whether it will or will not work. But we have an answer to that question as well.

New York is the first US city to introduce the congestion zone, but it’s not the first one in the world. London is the one that comes to our minds when we talk about congestion tax, and we have numbers that the UK capital managed to achieve.

London introduced congestion pricing in 2003. As a result, the traffic dropped by 39% and the city’s transportation system raised around £3 billion. City officials used that money to modernize the subway system.

So any New Yorker will tell you this – we need those results. Especially if you ask them this during their 2 hours drive from New Jersey.