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Port Authority Does About Face, Won’t Cancel Carpool Discount – CBS New York

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FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Back in October, CBS2 demanded answers from the Port Authority about why it planned to cancel the carpool discount.

On Tuesday, sources confirmed exclusively that our reporting got action, as the agency has changed its tune, Meg Baker reported.

Commuters near the George Washington Bridge were queued up to carpool into New York City. The practice is a win-win. Drivers get half off at the GWB and Holland and Lincoln tunnels, and passengers often pay nothing for the ride.

But recently, the Port Authority announced it was canceling the discount.

MORE: Port Authority: We Care About The Environment, But Still Taking Away The Carpool Discount, Hiking Fares

An aerial of the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 8, 2016. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“It’s green. It’s great for environment,” Closter, N.J. resident Carol Cooper said.

Now, it appears the agency will reverse the decision, thanks to multiple stories by CBS2, complaints from carpoolers, and support from Gov. Phil Murphy to keep the initiative that helps reduce congestion and pollution.

MORE: Gov. Phil Murphy Says He Sides With Commuters On Carpool Discount Cancellation

Commuters said they were thankful the Port Authority came to its senses.

“It works for everybody,” Cooper said. “I’ve picked up students that are jumping in that don’t have to take cars and look for parking and pay for parking.”

The Port Authority plans to implement cashless tolling by 2021. Agency chief Rick Cotton claimed that was one reason for canceling the discount.

“We take the toll collectors away, there is currently no way to monitor whether in fact the car qualifies,” Cotton said.

But the technology does exist and is being used in other states. Plus, the manned lanes aren’t going cashless for another year.

So was this just a money grab? The Port Authority takes in less revenue from carpoolers.

It’s still unclear what the Port Authority plans to do once cashless tolling goes into effect. Will the carpooling lanes remain staffed or will the agency purchase technology to scan cars for passengers?



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