Major toll changes for George Washington Bridge drivers coming from NJ
The George Washington Bridge will go completely cashless in July.
And that's not the only big change at the world's busiest bridge.
Carpool discounts also will be eliminated.
How will tolls be collected at GWB?
All toll payments will be electronic — no cash — via E-ZPass on the New Jersey side of the GWB starting Sunday, July 10. All cars will pass under gantries.
For vehicles without E-ZPass, pictures will be taken of license plates and a bill will be sent in the mail for toll payment.
The gantries have been under constriction since May 2021. Work was completed on both levels of the GWB in January and calibration was completed this month.
“Cashless transactions are no longer a thing of the future in this age of touchless financial transactions, and for non-E-ZPass customers that convenience of modern life has now come to our 90-year-old George Washington Bridge,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased with the activation of this best-in-class, all-electronic technology that will assure quick, accurate, electronic toll billing at the GWB.”
Will tolls change at the GWB?
Toll rates, which are only collected from vehicles leaving New Jersey, will not be affected by the change.
Vehicles without E-ZPass will continue to be charged the higher cash/toll-by-mail toll.
Carpool discounts come to an end
Carpool discounts will also end for George Washington Bridge commuters when the bridge goes cashless.
"Due to the impracticality of determining electronically the number of passengers in a vehicle, the carpool discount plan will end at the GWB when the new toll system is implemented," the Port Authority said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th District, has opposed the elimination of the carpool discount and thinks with inflation and higher gas prices the timing is terrible.
"Cashless is good, carpool less is bad. I think it's completely outrageous at a time when people are grappling with higher costs and we're trying to do more to protect the environment that the Port Authority would have this new carpool crushing tax," Gottheimer said.
The Democrat disagrees with the Port Authority's contention that no technology is available and said other states are already successfully using it.
"They're doing it in Georgia and Tennessee and Massachusetts and California and Virginia. Xerox has a technology they're using called the Vehicle Pasenger Detection System. It's 95% accurate compared to 36% when human are doing it," Gottheimer said.
Gottheimer said he will work to save the discount although he didn't offer a specific plan.
"We're going to be fighting against this until they bring car pools back and encourage people to carpool and to save money," Gottheimer said.
How are tolls collected at other bridges and tunnels?
The change at the GWB makes it the largest and busiest of the Port Authority's bridges and tunnels to go cashless. The Bayonne Bridge was the first in 2017 followed by the Outerbridge Crossing and Goethals Bridge in 2019 and the Holland Tunnel in 2020.
The Lincoln Tunnel, the only staffed Port Authority bridge or tunnel, will go cashless by the end of 2022, according to the Port Authority.
The GWB toll plazas and islands will be demolished.