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Trans-Bridge looks to put brakes on New York City 'congestion toll'

Trans-Bridge Lines.jpg
Jennifer Lechiski
Trans-Bridge Lines, Inc.
Trans-Bridge Lines is offering reservation service on April 3rd.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh Valley-based Trans-Bridge Lines motorcoach company is joining opposition to a proposed Manhattan “congestion toll” that could be implemented as early as June.

The toll would require the company to pay an extra $24 for its commuter buses and $36 for its charter buses each time one enters New York's so-called congestion pricing zone, which includes all of Manhattan south of Central Park.

“We simply don’t understand this decision,” Trans-Bridge Lines President Tom JeBran said in a news release. “It doesn’t make sense and punishes bus operators who are part of the solution to the congestion problem.

“The point of the congestion pricing law is that cars will be deterred from entering midtown, which will reduce traffic and pollutants in the air. Buses offer a solution. Not only do modern coaches have technological advances in comfort and safety, they also have clean diesel engines which are non-polluting.”

Trans-Bridge said it helps alleviate congestion by taking up to 56 passenger vehicles off the road per bus. The toll will affect roughly 26 weekday runs and 10 weekend runs.

“It doesn’t make sense and punishes bus operators who are part of the solution to the congestion problem."
Thomas JeBran, president of Trans-Bridge Lines

According to the company, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has responded to the bus industry’s pleas for exemption by stating that findings from its Traffic Mobility Review Board found that private buses contribute to downtown congestion.

“Intercity buses do not serve commuters on a daily basis, although they do provide an efficient, quasi-transit option, especially for people of more moderate means,” the board report said. “They should be charged $24. Tour buses don’t serve a quasi-public transit role and should be charged $36 for the disproportionate congestion they cause.”

The toll will apply to all vehicles traveling on roads at and below 60th Street, with the exception of major highways. Exemptions will be made for FDR Drive, the West Side Highway and the Battery Park underpass, according to the MTA.

Public comment period

Trans-Bridge Lines, which suffered a serious downturn at the height of the pandemic and has rebuilt its business, said it has no plans to increase fare pricing.

“We have always tried to provide our customers with fair and competitive pricing,” JeBran said. “Although we have no immediate plans to raise fares due to this increase, the added expense to our company is another burden we will face.”

The MTA’s public comment period on the proposal runs through March 11. Interested parties can share their thoughts at https://contact.mta.info/s/forms/CBDTP or by emailing cbdtp.feedback@mtabt.org.

Two public hearings are set for 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday, March 4. Hearings will be livestreamed on the MTA’s YouTube channel.