Hampton Jitney Warns of Cost Hikes Over NYC Congestion Pricing - Hindustan Times
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Hampton Jitney Warns of Cost Hikes Over NYC Congestion Pricing

Bloomberg |
Feb 27, 2024 08:04 AM IST

The operator of buses to the ocean-front abodes and celebrity-filled parties in New York’s Hamptons is facing a price boost as New York City plans to start charging vehicles driving into Manhattan’s central business district.

(Bloomberg) -- The operator of buses to the ocean-front abodes and celebrity-filled parties in New York’s Hamptons is facing a price boost as New York City plans to start charging vehicles driving into Manhattan’s central business district.

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Hampton Jitney Inc., a private bus company in its 50th year, shuttles city residents to the Hamptons and Long Island’s North Fork at affordable rates. But under a new tolling proposal, called congestion pricing, Hampton Jitney’s toll expenses will double, according to a Feb. 25 email that it sent to riders calling for customers to voice their support for Hampton Jitney to receive an exemption from the new toll.

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“We are asking for help from our ridership,” Geoffrey Lynch, Hampton Jitney’s president, wrote in the email. He did not respond to a phone message or email seeking further comment.

Under congestion pricing, buses would pay a $24 fee during peak periods, although they would receive a $6 tunnel credit during that time if entering or exiting the central business district through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, which also charges a toll. Jitney vehicles entered that tunnel about 20,000 times in 2023, according to the email. 

When asked about the Jitney’s cost estimate, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is implementing the toll, pointed to a Traffic Mobility Review Board’s report of the proposed tolling structure and published toll rates for in and out of Manhattan. 

Currently, a bus pays $41.12 round trip to drive through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel with an E-ZPass. Under the proposed congestion pricing plan, it would pay an additional $12 for the new toll, including a $12 round-trip tunnel credit. That potential combined cost of $53.12 is a roughly 30% increase from current rates. 

It’s unlikely the planned tolling structure will change dramatically to incorporate additional exemptions or discounts. The Traffic Mobility Review Board created the proposed fee design and the board for the MTA, which runs the city’s transit network, may execute a final vote on that plan as soon as next month. 

Read More: New York’s $15 Congestion Tolling Aims for Mid-June Start Date

Hampton Jitney has the most business during the summer months, when its buses sell out days in advance as tourists and city residents escape to the sun and sand. The bus company has fewer customers during the winter months when it mostly serves commuters. 

The operator charges $40 for a one-way prepaid ticket from New York City to the Hamptons. That’s a much more reasonable option than taking an Uber or a helicopter ride, which costs about $1,000 for a one-way seat. The Long Island Rail Road charges $31.75 for a one-way ticket during peak hours, which is cheaper than Hampton Jitney, but the bus company offers more frequent service.   

The MTA plans to begin charging vehicles as soon as mid-June. The transit agency expects the tolling structure to bring in $1 billion of revenue annually that it will borrow against to raise $15 billion to help modernize and upgrade a more than 100-year-old transit system.

The congestion pricing toll would apply once a day to vehicles entering the district, which runs from 60th Street to the bottom of Manhattan. A public comment period for the proposal runs through March 11.

(Updates with Jitney’s potential toll expenses.)

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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