Your trips to the airport may get a bit pricier: The Port Authority has floated increases to its tolls and fares across the board that include a hike to the JFK AirTrain fare, and a surcharge for for-hire vehicles, including Uber and Lyft cars, dropping passengers off at JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark.
The proposed increases come at a time when Port Authority is experiencing “record-setting use of its facilities,” including the New York region’s three airports, the PATH train, and tolls in and out of New York City. That volume, combined with the need for upgrades at many of those facilities—see the $13 billion overhaul of JFK Airport, or the planned reconstruction of the agency’s much-maligned Midtown bus terminal, among other things—has led the agency to
Under the Port Authority’s proposal, the fare for the JFK Airtrain—which has remained at $5 since the service launched in 2003—will go up to $7.75. The same increase would be put into place at Newark Airport, where the fare has remained the same since 2005. (The agency has also proposed rebuilding the Newark connector from scratch, at a cost of $2 billion.)
The FHV surcharge, modeled on a similar fee levied on drivers passing through Los Angeles International Airport, would be $4 for app-based and other for-hire vehicles. Currently, no such charge exists for FHVs in New York, although there is a $2.75 congestion surcharge to and from airports into the business zone below 96th Street. Yellow taxis would not incur the same surcharge.
“New York City’s app-based drivers and taxi drivers are licensed the same and pass the same tests. It is patently unfair to tax Uber and Lyft trips in both directions while taxing taxis in only one direction,” Brendan Sexton, the executive director of the Independent Drivers’ Guild, said in a statement. “Uber and Lyft trips are already taxed much more highly than taxi trips, to double down on that inequity at the airports seems purely punitive. Taxes should be borne equally. Same work, same tax.”
If enacted, the AirTrain fare hike would go into effect on November 1, and the FHV surcharge would be in effect by the fourth quarter of 2020. Other proposed increases include inflation-based raises at Port Authority bridge and tunnel tolls (making the base cash rate $16, and the base rate for EZ-Pass $11.75 off-peak, and $13.75 at peak hours), and hikes to PATH SmartLink fares that would then go up based on inflation in the years to come.
The proposals will be presented to the public in a series of hearings beginning July 16, with the first one happening at the agency’s office at 4 World Trade Center.