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Port Authority approves sweeping fare hikes, airport taxi surcharges

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Tolls and fares will see significant hikes over the coming years

A grey heavily-traffic suspicion bridge with cars and truck traffic whizzing over the span.
Tolls on Hudson River bridges and tunnels, such as the George Washington Bridge, will rise on January 5.

Crossing the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey by bridge and tunnel is about to take a bigger bite out of your wallet.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unanimously voted at a Thursday board meeting to increase those fees, along with hikes for two Air Train systems and new fees on taxis and for-hire vehicles at airports. The authority retooled its proposed hikes after seven public hearings on the changes and a nine-week comment period. Officials expect the increases to generate $235 million in annual revenue, which will go toward sorely-needed infrastructure investments, says the head of the authority.

“While it’s never easy to ask the public to pay more to use our facilities, the 1,300 comments we received led to important changes to the proposal,” says Port Authority chairman Kevin O’Toole. “The Board will continue to listen to the public as we implement these changes that help the Port Authority to enhance mobility and accommodate regional growth and economic activity.”

Under the approved increases, E-ZPass users traveling through bridges and tunnels will see their $12.50 toll spike to $13.75 and from $10.50 to $11.75 during off-peak hours. Cash tolls will rise from $15 to $16. Those increases will take effect January 5, 2020. These are the first Port Authority toll increases since 2015—the last in a series of hikes starting in 2011—that spiked the toll from $8 to $12.50

An aboveground light rail shuttles fliers to JFK.
The Air Train at JFK airport in Queens.

Newark and JFK Air Trains will see jumps from a $5 fare to $7.75—those are set to go up on November 1—and beginning October 2020, passengers who hail for-hire vehicles, such as Uber and Lyft, will pay $2.50 to be picked up or dropped off at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty International airports. Those who hop in yellow cabs will pay a pickup fee only—that fee will be $1.25 in October 2020 and increase to $1.75 in 2022.

The Port Authority’s board also approved inflation-based adjustments. Automatic increases will be triggered when the cumulative impact of inflation on existing toll rates reaches $1. The impact of inflation since 2015 is expected to reach this level in 2020, prompting next year’s $1 increase on cash tolls to keep those fees aligned with inflation. The adopted proposal also reduce the E-ZPass discounts by 25 cents, and eliminates that discount altogether for account holders who are from out of state.

The PATH train base fare was untoched, but the authority scaled back the value of the multi-trip SmartLink purchase discounts. The cost per ride with a SmartLink card is currently at $2.10, but on November 1 the per-ride cost will rise to $2.50. That will go up another 10 cents to $2.60 on November 1, 2020.