Queens lawmakers demand more MTA bus service to Manhattan before $15 congestion toll begins

Queens lawmakers who voted for the unpopular $15 “congestion” toll to enter components of Manhattan are demanding that the MTA improve categorical bus service to their neighboring borough before the brand new payment is imposed.

But opponents of the brand new toll to enter Midtown south of sixtieth Street scoffed that the Queens legislators are scrambling as a result of they’re feeling the wrath from constituents over the congestion pricing regulation.

The name for more categorical bus service into Manhattan from ten Queens senators and meeting members got here after the borough was excluded from comparable mass transit expansions introduced for Brooklyn and Staten Island bus routes.

What to learn about congestion pricing

  • These charges apply throughout peak hours, 5 am-9 pm weekdays, 9 am – 9 pm weekends. During different instances, tolls are lowers to $2.75 for passenger automobiles, $6 for small vehicles, $9 for giant vehicles, and $1.75 for bikes. Other charges stay the identical.
  • Emergency automobiles, faculty buses, specialised authorities automobiles and automobiles carrying individuals with disabilities are exempt.
  • Drivers crossing into Manhattan utilizing a tolled tunnel get a $5 low cost.

The ten lawmakers penned a letter Wednesday to Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman and CEO Janno Lieber, imploring him to “expand express bus service in Queens in order to attract more public transit riders when congestion pricing takes effect.”

“Express buses play a vital role in Queens’ public transit network and only stand to become even more pivotal in the near and distant future,” mentioned the signers together with state Sens. John Liu, Leroy Comrie, Toby Ann Stavisky,  Michael Gianaris, Julia Salazar and James Sanders.

The Midtown toll, backed by Gov Kathy Hochul after her predecessor Andrew Cuomo accepted the congestion pricing regulation, is anticipated to take impact June 30.

MTA chairman and CEO Janno Lieber in a suit and tie sitting in front of a microphone during the first public hearing on the congestion pricing plan at MTA headquarters
Many components of southeast and northeast Queens are usually not close to subway trains and depend upon categorical bus service to commute to Midtown. The categorical bus fare is $7. James Keivom

Many components of southeast and northeast Queens are usually not close to subway trains and depend upon categorical bus service to commute to Midtown. The categorical bus fare is $7.

The MTA not too long ago introduced it’s utilizing state funding to present a ten% low cost for Long Island Railroad riders who’re metropolis residents and a rise in service for six categorical bus routes from Brooklyn and Staten Island to the Midtown “congestion relief zone.”

“It is unacceptable that Queens – one of the city’s largest transit deserts – was excluded from those express bus improvements,” mentioned the letter writers who additionally included Assembly members Ed Braunstein, Nily Rozic, Alicia Hyndman, and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas.

Gonzalez-Rojas was the one signer who didn’t vote for congestion pricing as a result of she wasn’t within the Assembly on the time.

People, bicycles, and cars congesting 6th Ave in Herald Square, New York, indicative of congestion pricing policy
Gonzalez-Rojas was the one signer who didn’t vote for congestion pricing as a result of she wasn’t within the Assembly on the time. Helayne Seidman

“The success of congestion pricing is contingent on the expansion of other forms of mass transit, especially the Queens express bus network,” they mentioned.

Here’s all the pieces we all know concerning the NYC congestion pricing plan

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s new pricing plan that may cost drivers a minimal of $15 to enter Midtown Manhattan is ready to begin in June, in accordance to experiences.

The MTA has argued that the addition toll is aimed toward curbing and easing peak-day congestion in Manhattan. The controversial plan will elevate about $1 billion per 12 months that will fund main upgrades to subways, commuter railroads and bus programs.

How a lot will drivers be charged?

  • Passenger drivers: $15
  • Motorcycles: $7.50
  • Taxi drivers: $1.25 per experience
  • Small vehicles: $25
  • Large vehicles: $35
  • Uber, Lyft, different ride-shares: $2.50 per experience

Major highways, together with the FDR Drive and the West Side Hghway, are exempt from the toll, however drivers shall be charged in the event that they exit onto a road in NYC’s central enterprise district beneath sixtieth Street.

The rush-hour charges shall be in place from 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. weekdays, in accordance to experiences. During non-peak hours, the toll shall be about $3.75 for a automotive. On weekends, the complete charge shall be charged between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

“The 10 percent monthly LIRR discount is welcome, but it is not an adequate replacement for the lack of express bus service. Access to subway and rail service is already limited throughout Queens, as many of our constituents must pay two to three fares to access the Congestion Relief Zone.”

Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn), who was a state assemblywoman when congestion pricing was accepted in Albany, mentioned Democratic lawmakers are feeling the warmth.

Toll readers above 2nd Avenue in New York City during a traffic jam, marking the entry of the congestion pricing zone, with many Queens residents expressing discontent with the new tolls.
Many Queens residents have expressed discontent with the brand new tolls. Michael Nagle

“I’m sure they are getting an earful from their constituents,” Malliotaki mentioned.

“Why didn’t they think about that BEFORE they voted for this cash grab and gave away their authority to the MTA to set the fee, determine exemptions and the projects it will supposedly fund? It was ridiculous for these Democrats to vote for legislation without any details.”

Yiatin Chu, a Republican candidate difficult Democratic incumbent Stavisky within the eleventh district that stretches from southeast to northeast Queens, mentioned, “Everyone I talk to is opposed to congestion pricing.”

“They’re trying to take the sting out of congestion pricing. But they’re the ones who voted for it.”

Kathryn Freed, a former decide and Democratic councilwoman who resides on the Lower East Side and is a plaintiff within the lawsuit aimed toward blocking congestion pricing, mentioned the Queens lawmakers bought performed.

“They just figured that out, huh?,” mentioned Freed  “All our legislators just rolled over. I don’t understand what our state legislators were thinking.”

Oral arguments within the lawsuits aimed toward blocking congestion pricing shall be heard in Manhattan federal court docket before Judge Lewis Liman Friday. Plaintiffs embody the United Federation of Teachers, Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella and a bevy of elected officers and civic leaders and small enterprise advocates.

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