What congestion pricing will look like here

Yes, the MTA has decided to hold hearings for the very first congestion pricing program — formally called the Central Business District Tolling Program — in the entire country during the last week of summer. So I will try to sum up the plan below, based on a read of the executive summary of the environmental assessment required by the feds. See the schedule for the hearings here, which will run at various times from August 25 to 31. You can also comment online here.

My executive summary: if you own a car in the neighborhood, it will cost you at least $20 to leave for the weekend. And workers coming to Manhattan from outside the borough will likely pass that toll onto you, if they have to drive. The stated goal of reducing traffic by 10 percent seems like too modest a goal, especially since car traffic downtown has increased post-pandemic. I am just hoping the results are more like London and Stockholm, where traffic was reduced by 25 percent and carbon dioxide pollution by as much as 20 percent.

So here goes:

This is a tolling program that is intended to 1) reduce traffic in Manhattan and 2) raise revenue for the MTA. The state legislature enacted the MTA Reform and Traffic Mobility Act in 2019, which states that the MTA’s Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority needs to design, develop, build and run the Central Business District Tolling Program. Find the info here on the MTA website.


  • Reduce daily vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) within the Manhattan CBD by at least 5 percent
  • Reduce the number of vehicles entering the Manhattan CBD daily by at least 10 percent
  • Create a funding source for $15 billion for capital projects for the MTA Capital Program

All vehicles that enter the Central Business District would be tolled (except emergency vehicles, vehicles transporting people with disabilities or any vehicle belonging to families living inside the Manhattan congestion pricing zone in which the household earns $60,000 or less per year). You will also get tolled when you leave, depending on the day you leave. There are specific examples below pulled from the executive summary of the environmental assessment doc. But in short: if you own a car in Tribeca, you will get charged when you leave and when you return, but not for just staying in the CBD.

The toll would be paid using an E-ZPass. If you do not have an E-ZPass, toll bills would be mailed to the address of the registered vehicle owner and are paid using Tolls by Mail. The rates may be higher if you do not have E-ZPass.

Tolls could range from $9 to $23 per trip during peak, $7 to $17 for off-peak and $5 to $12 for overnight. The state legislature requires that the MTA raise $15 billion with the program, so if there are more exemptions, the tolls rates would have to go up. That’s what the ranges reflect: the lowest is the base plan; the highest is a scenario considering several exemptions.

Vehicles can only be charged once per day.

If you want to review this yourself, go to the MTA site here, click on “Access the Environmental Statement,” click on the Executive Summary to get the PDF doc. Page 10 has the fare chart.

Everything south of 60th Street. However, if your car stays on the FDR Drive or the West Side Highway or the Battery Park underpass, you will not be tolled.

Things could move quickly if the program is approved by the feds and the MTA can move forward. But the tolling system still needs to be designed and installed, and that should take a year. So late 2023 or early 2024.

These examples are pulled right from the MTA’s document:
• A car drives into the Manhattan CBD on Monday morning and leaves Monday evening before midnight. It would be detected when it enters and when it leaves the Manhattan CBD. Because passenger vehicles would be charged only once daily, a single toll would be charged.
• A car drives into the Manhattan CBD on Monday, and parks until it leaves on Wednesday. It would be charged entering on Monday and for remaining when it drove through the Manhattan CBD on Wednesday to leave. It would not be charged when it was parked the full 24-hours on Tuesday.
• A car makes two round trips into the Manhattan CBD on the same day. It would be charged a single toll, because passenger vehicles would be charged only once daily.
• A car is parked all week within the Manhattan CBD and then leaves the Manhattan CBD for a day trip on Saturday, returning before midnight. The car would be detected leaving (remaining) and entering the Manhattan CBD on the same day. Because passenger vehicles would be charged only once daily, a single toll would be charged on Saturday.
• A car is parked all week within the Manhattan CBD and then leaves the Manhattan CBD on Friday and returns on Monday. The car would be detected leaving (remaining) on Friday and entering when it returns on Monday. It would receive a charge on Friday for remaining and on Monday for entering. It would not be charged any other days when it was parked the entire day in the Manhattan CBD, nor the days when it was away.

The EDC had this handy map of car owners in NYC, and while Manhattan is the lowest in the city, Tribeca is among the highest in Manhattan, at 26 percent or so. The Manhattan average is 22 percent.



  1. if you stay on the west side highway, FDR, you don’t pay a toll. so these will become parking lots (some days they already are) cars will not be reduced because subways are not safe. Pollution will not be reduced by same amount of cars going slower, so what’s the point?

  2. The $20 you state sounds like more than the worst case for cars for a weekend trip (assuming EZPass). Worst case I’m seeing is $18, $9 each way if you’re in peak hours both ways. Weekend overnight tolls (from 10PM-10AM) are modeled at $4.60. That’s what you’d pay if you leave early Saturday morning, for example. Off-peak tolls (weekdays 8-10PM) are $6.90. So you could be anywhere from $9.20-$18 roundtrip, which is basically the same price range as a *one*-way LIRR ticket.

    I think that context is important here. Remember base fares are $5.50 roundtrip in the subway or on a bus and $20-40 roundtrip on the LIRR. It has never made sense that cars/trucks could get into NYC for free while people on subways/buses/trains have to pay.

    Strongly suggest people read the MTA’s EA if they want to be informed about the policy. Tons of info: https://new.mta.info/project/CBDTP/environmental-assessment

    Detailed toll assumptions are Exhibit 2E.

    • Prepare to pay more for milk, bread, coffee, eggs, water, delivery service, mechanicals for repairs etc. how ups and other delivery companies will deliver your packages?

      What about Queens creates a toll program entering JFK and LGA with $40 price. How would you feel about that. Or every boroughs makes their own congestion pricing.

      entering manhattan for now its free for every one.

      If you don’t want to take subway,bus,train you can enter manhattan for free with a bike or you can walk.

      Entering manhattan from NJ its not free.

      Entering manhattan from East River its free BUT cars pay taxes and I still have to pay for a parking spot or garage…. so money moves. I pay $32 yearly car registration fee. Maybe $32 yearly is low… maybe price have to go up, but still its not free.


  3. So, it appears that you can drive around all you want under 60th Street every day without incurring a fee – as long you don’t leave the CBD and you don’t drive on the FDR & West Side Highway? Do I have this right?

  4. This is bullshit. For example. At BQE EXIT 28 west Brooklyn bridge. It was 3 lanes road. DOT reduced into 2 lanes road for line a mile. That for a reason to reduce weight at the road and for broken vehicles to park on the side and not to block traffic. Now because of lane reduction the traffic starts at Brooklyn bridge and BQE its dark red at the time at google maps. The only reason that this was made is to create more traffic, to force people to use trains and to force people to use tunnel (tool). It used to take me 25-30 min to go home. Now it takes me 40-45 min. Just because of that lane closure.
    Now about congestion pricing…. All goods entering Manhattan will be more expensive. Including deliveries ups fedex etc. if this works trains would be crowded. Train platforms would be crowded. Subway trains are not reliable. Sick passenger…. Someone fell on the tracks…. Train doors… train signals not working…. It will be a disaster. can you please find someone who make less that $60k a year that lives beyond 60th street and owns a car? 1.6M people that lives in manhattan it might be 200k-500k that fits on that toll exemption. Most of people who likes this are MTA advocates, and bike lovers. Keep in mind one thing. That tool is a robbery.

  5. do you know if they’ll make this CBD in an ointment or a cream or maybe a cookie?

  6. If I leave my parking lot and drive directly to west st am I charged?

    • This is my question too. My garage is on Greenwich and I have to drive two blocks to get to West Side Highway. Is this considered worthy of a toll? I’m sure (I hope?) they’ll get into the nitty gritty of these types of scenarios at some point.

  7. How would this affect Ubers?

    • Ubers, Lyfts & Taxis have already been charging this for 2 years for EVERY RIDE regardless if you go in and out of the city!!!
      THIS is bullshit!!!! I live downtown and have mobility issues so EVERY car I need to take I need to pay an additional 2.50 (on top of the tax and other fees- not yet including tip), per ride- INSIDE the city. So downtown residents and disabled are funding the MTA now? And, no, the subways are not ALL safe.
      Nor do they barely have any accessibility. My head is going to explode with this crap, and I want the approx $1500 I’ve spent in the last 2 years back, thank you.

  8. What if I need to go to New Jersey from brooklyn?
    I need to use the tunnels.

  9. If I drive only on the West Side Highway and park at Pier 40, then do I pay the fee?

    • No u will go free mta…bulshit u have to pay freaking 23$ and tip and fare…mta freaking killing business…u will see soon

  10. this is one of the worst policies i’ve ever seen. tax people who don’t live here for transiting through/into manhattan but why tax local residents driving in their own neighborhood? we already pay a city tax to live in NYC. charge people from LI/NJ/CT – sure. but it is insane to think if i have a car in tribeca, i have to pay $20 to go visit a friend uptown on a weekend or take the west side highway to chelsea piers. total joke. local residents with cars are a minority and being completely shafted imo. cbd residents should be 100% exempt – not an income based thing, it’s about fairness. just like many local beach towns in NJ/NY/CT charge non-residents a fee to park but offer essentially free parking passes for local residents. this should be no different.

  11. All of the other comments are by drivers.

    Trying to cross 6th Avenue at White, or Canal and Sixth is harrowing. Some of the traffic cops are effective, some not. During rush hour the intersections and crosswalks are bumper to bumper whether the light is red or green. The fumes are bad and it is dangerous.

    This is a maddening, untenable situation we’ve become accustomed to.

    • local residents are a tiny, tiny fraction of the traffic going into/around the tunnel. most of this is people going to/from LI/CT and NJ – not even people who are staying in Manhattan. Congestion pricing will be great to force them to take alternative routes vs. canal street.

      this will also make goods/services for local residents more expensive as the people delivering those goods/services will be taxed further to come to tribeca.

      disaster all around for local residents. charge the tourists/people transiting NJ –> LI/CT through the city but dont charge the locals!

      • BUT this won’t reduce the tunnel traffic as more than likely those coming through NJ tunnels and bridges will be exempt from the toll or have it the tunnel toll deducted so they will not pay the full CBP one…

        It sounds like if you remain in the CBD zone, you won’t be charged so you can take city streets to get around below 60th. You would get charged tho if you decide to use more efficient ways of getting around like the West Side Hwy or FDR and once you go above 60th…

      • …Maybe they could cut CEO pay to offset the added expense of the City toll.

    • Well put Heidi. I for one am looking forward to less traffic in our neighborhood and less pollution. With the major upside of more funding for the MTA. It’s worked in all the other cities who have tried it an no London hasn’t lost population because of it.

  12. End it before it starts. What if? The City is too costly now.

  13. Glad this is making progress. I drive too in and out of the city. Its just how it should be. We need less cars. More transit

  14. They better add a toll fee search feature on the MTA website and their app. This way we can understand what our enter/exit costs will be and allow us to figure out the best, cheapest and maybe fastest route. This should be added to Waze and Google Maps etc as well. What a money grab and scheme.

  15. i too, want to see fewer cars in the CBD, but i fear this will end up being a tax that those of us who live here will bear the greatest burden.
    we are an island.
    everything we use and consume will cost more for those of us who live and work here- not only will we be charged for coming and going( for many of us that means the weekend) but by simply living here we will pay more for everything else.
    (Sigh) another nudge/kick that i think will help drive the middle class( me) and small businesses (like mine) out.
    unfortunately i do not have a completely packaged solution, but somehow this program needs to be tweaked so that we who live here do not bear a disproportionate burden.

    and i have one thing to say about the number of vehicles in the CBD: the majority are TLC cars( for hire) we used to call them “black cars” how do i know this? i deliver often to businesses in the CBD. my observation is that on most blocks, the overwhelming majority of vehicles are “for hire”- many, many with no one in them. they clog the streets, they take up legit commercial parking spaces.they idle outside -especially midtown buildings -waiting for their customers, contributing mightily to air pollution.
    why are there so many ? it’s because of demand. people want them- businesses and individuals .they do not want to take the subways/buses/ bikes etc.
    i would like to see THESE vehicles (IMO causing much of the congestion) bear the brunt of what is, in essence, a tax.
    And a public awareness campaign that emphasizes that every time you hire an Uber/LYFT bc you don’t want to take the subway or bus, you are contributing to the problem.
    wow- i don’t think i’ve made this much comment in years- but the looming tax hike on us is real

    • Completely agree! These are the things that should be subject to a tax – exempt for those with disabilities who need to take car services – but overall a car service is a luxury so paying a tax on this makes sense.

      In addition, a lot of the congestion is driven by trucks that double park and this is not only true in the zone but on UES too. How about we limit what trucks can come in and when so that they can only deliver during certain times or have delivery spots that allow them to enter and exit at specific times for free and those who violate this pay a toll….

    • I agree 100% and if you look the report says that if they could get rid of placards and agency parking they would solve congestion but the $$ that the MTA is looking for. They have not adjusted revenue projections to post covid reality – some people now ride bikes instead of subway and many work from home. The demand is not there like before and will be years to replace it.

    • “No man is an island entire of itself […]
      And therefore never send to know for whom
      the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.“
      – John Donne on congestion pricing

  16. Is there info anywhere on where tolls would be placed? It seems like BPC won’t be included but wondering if it will be on every street off the West Side Hwy? Our garage is directly off the hwy near the Battery tunnel so technically on a city street but the only people who go down it are ones who are going to the garage… but wondering if that is part of the exempt area.

  17. Other cities which have had this established for a long time, such as London, give residents of the zone a 90% discount. I would hope that they will consider exemptions or discounts for those living here, since most of us will need to go in and out of the zone to leave (and therefore de-congest!!!) the city…

    Planning to join the forums and voice these ideas, and encourage others to do the same!

  18. That really doesn’t make sense. If you’re driving uptown from Tribeca, you save $ by using Hudson or Sixth Ave or another North-South street rather than the FDR or the WSH? Wouldn’t that increase congestion within the CBD? Same for an Uber or other car service?

  19. Nothing has been mentioned about exemptions for businesses that are incorporated in NYC, pay NYC taxes and deliver daily to restaurants in the CBD. I live in Tribeca and own a food service business in the Bronx with 17 trucks. We deliver into the CBD six days a week, multiple times a day with those 17 trucks. If my calculations are correct, this program would cost our business approximately $2000.00 a week (over $100,000.00 a year!). Our costs to do business in NYC are already sky high and this is one more slap in the face to small business owners. Excuse me while I hyperventilate…I need some CBD to deal with the CBD.

    • I can’t answer all these questions, but one for sure: one toll per day max. It’s in the state legislation. As for exemptions, the state legislation requires that the program raise $15 billion, so if there are more exemptions, the toll rate will have to go up to make that minimum.

    • i”ll join you!

  20. One would have to be deranged not to want cleaner air and less traffic, but this scheme is _insanely_ disproportionately burdensome to persons of lesser income, while being of almost no consequence to persons of higher income who own a car in NYC and drive for leisure purposes or convenience.

    Asymmetric taxation is a ridiculous way to try to legislate behavior, particularly when much of that behavior is not by choice but required to earn a living.

    I truly hope this plan is never enacted as it stands. It will hurt many people who have not been the cause of the problems it’s trying to inappropriately address.

  21. What a poorly designed program. Drive all day in the CBD (or drive in and out all day), pay once? That doesn’t nothing to encourage me to take mass transit all day. It does encourage ride sharing services to come in and out all day however since they only pay once.

    Meanwhile, if I take my car from the garage to leave the city for the weekend and come back, I pay twice – after I already pay city taxes to park? I don’t think locals with cars registered to their city address should pay at all, but if we must, tax us once, not twice – e.g. on the way in, but not on the way out.

    • Such a bad idea on so many levels. The traffic is in midtown nothing compared to years ago – way to kill the central business district! Enjoy!

    • Exactly!!! the cars registered here should be exempt! we live here, the cars are already here, we pay taxes and registration, we pay tax on parking.. seriously this is only a new ruse from NYS to make money of us and put it in the pit hole with no bottom that is the MTA… maybe start by restructuring the MTA which is a money burning company.

  22. This is insane! I live in upper west Manhattan and work in Queens. I can drive outside the CBD until I have to cross the Queensborough bridge (the I’d have to access 59th street). Under this plan, my daily free trip (except gas) turns into a daily $23 fee?! So I’m stuck with approximately an extra $6k tax annually?! How is this fair?? Am I missing something??

  23. It’s insane that residents of the area are not receiving exemptions. I’ve lived in Hell’s Kitchen for 30 years, helped to build up the area, and now I get slammed with a tax while neighbors 20 blocks north do not? How is this fair? Also, electric vehicles are not exempt, so this obviously isn’t about cleaner air. This plan is completely ridiculous and is going to decimate middle and lower income residents with or without cars when we all must pay surcharges to the businesses that come into our area. Insane!

    • A couple thoughts on electric vehicles:

      – To the extent that they contribute to congestion, that means lots of non-electric polluting vehicles are stuck in that congestion and creating more pollution longer
      – As long as our society’s sources of electric generation are coming from “dirty” sources, then even electric vehicles contribute to pollution. It just displaces the source of pollution to the plants generating the electricity, instead of the vehicles themselves. That at least might make local air cleaner, but doesn’t help with the general production of pollutants into the atmosphere.

  24. I’m a Tribeca resident. I want an exemption!!!!!. I have to drive my husband to the Hospital which is above 59 Street for cancer treatment every week, multiple times a week.

    Congestion pricing is going to choke NYC. Food is going to be too expensive.

    • I am in a similar situation and I know others
      In my situation. I am very worried about the financial impact for me and my family.
      I live alone in Hell’s Kitchen and dealing with cancer for two years. I go for treatments, scans and many various Drs regularly.
      All of my Drs , hospital and radiology centers are in this zone!
      My children travel in from Long Island or New Jersey to take me to appointments and they already pay tolls and have to pay for garages when I’m at appointments. Sometimes I use a car service when I’m up to traveling alone. I have neuropathy from treatments so walking or taking public transport is not possible.
      How is this fair to people in this situation or what will they do to assist us. Moving would mean changing my entire medical team. This is so troubling and unfair!

  25. Exemption for Electric Vehicles!!!
    Please use this link to make public comments to the MTA on Congestion Pricing
    NYC’s fleet is going all electric….the city and state need to provide incentives for people to use EVs…..a congestion pricing exemption like they have in LOndon would be helpful environmentally, a stated goal of this program

    • Even the London exemption is limited:

      “Cleaner vehicle discount

      “(Formerly Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED))

      “Only battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are eligible for the cleaner vehicle discount. From 25 December 2025, the cleaner vehicle discount will be discontinued. From this date, all vehicle owners, unless in receipt of another discount or exemption, will need to pay to enter the Congestion Charge zone during charging hours.

      “You can apply for a discount online, but you’ll need to supply certain documents to show you’re entitled to the discount. […]

      “Please note that eligibility for the discount changed on 25 October 2021. If your vehicle does not meet the new eligibility criteria, then your discount expired on 24 October 2021.”


  26. In general, I am all for congestion pricing, but I hope that there are sensible carve outs. I have been trying to figure out if any local elected officials have positions that might be more reasonable

    – give discounts to people who already park here and pay a premium for that
    – give discounts to people leaving the Zone
    – give discounts to health care workers traveling out of borough to less accessible facilities

    No local politicians seem interested in this issue, which is sad. They should be organized on behalf of sensible rules the same way the outer borough politicians have organized to kill this for years.

    • Making exemptions is a slippery slope to no congestion pricing program, so everyone arguing for exemptions is a de facto enemy of congestion pricing, even if they are loathe to admit it. Exemptions for some people mean others have to pay more, since the program is mandated by law to raise a minimum amount of money.

      Really, people need to grow up and stop looking for the free lunch for yourselves. No wonder we accomplish zero progress on complex, global problems like climate change.

      • Actually you are right. It’s going to be painful, but it’s a good point. I’ll be less angry if no carve outs except those already set happen.

      • Good point. If we want real change, sometimes we have to bite teh proverbial bullet. No pain, no gain, and all that.

        But hopefully the pain is temporary and we all find ways to adjust to the changes such that everyone benefits.

  27. I am in the public hearings for congestion pricing and so far elected officials from everywhere except Manhattan are lobbying for carve outs. Also, the private bus industry (which includes tourist buses that drive me nuts) are lobbying for exceptions. They better not get any.