Say goodbye to 75 soon on the Garden State Parkway, NJ
All good things must come to an end at some point. Not that this particular thing was ever good, to begin with, but it does represent a trend on our toll roads that isn't necessarily welcomed by motorists.
Now before we get into it, no, this doesn't have anything to do with speed. Yes, many would love to see a higher speed limit on the Garden State Parkway, perhaps as high as 75 mph.
But if that were the case, then we'd be saying hello to 75, not goodbye. And at the moment, there are many drivers who go 75 now despite the speed limit maxing out at 65 mph for the majority of the highway.
So if it's not speed, what could it be? Well, it's something that might not be that obvious at first, but once you realize it, it's kind of upsetting.
For the moment, let's throw out any E-ZPass discounts that might be given on toll rates and strictly stick with cash payments. After all, those are the signs advertised as we approach the tolls.
Take note of the on-ramp and off-ramp tolls. Notice some have the amount set at 75 cents per vehicle? Yep, that's what we'll soon most likely be saying goodbye to in the not-so-distant future.
Toll hikes were recently announced for New Jersey's toll roads, which include the Garden State Parkway. And of course, that means you pay more to travel the same roadway.
The reason why the 75-cent fare is significant now is that it's currently the lowest toll on the Garden State Parkway, minus any discounts you might receive for E-Zpass. After we roll into 2024, we'll be that much closer to a dollar being the lowest fare.
And who knows if those E-ZPass discounts will really amount to much in the future. What happens when that becomes the only way to pay fares on New Jersey's toll roads?
We're not there yet but we know it'll eventually happen. Just look at how many cash lanes have been vanishing as the years have progressed.
Not only that, but the majority of drivers already use E-ZPass as their primary way to pay tolls. Yes, you might get a small discount, but would that still be the case when it becomes the only way to pay?
It's like the small discount we received for paying fares with a token. For those who may not know what that was, here's a brief history of the fare token, along with a reminder of how much cheaper tolls once were.
A look back at the NJ Garden State Parkway token
The days of the Parkway fare token may be just a distant memory, and soon the days of fares being under a dollar will join that forgotten group. So at the moment, let's make the best of the 75-cent fares that still exist (if there is a way to make the best of paying a toll).
Click here for more on the upcoming fare hikes, including how much they'll be going up on the Garden State Parkway. Until then, take advantage of the lowest fare at 75 cents per car before we eventually say goodbye to 75.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.