A new frequent-use discount offered to truckers will shave 10% off their monthly bills if they make numerous trips over Port Authority (PA) of New York & New Jersey bridges during off-peak hours. The new discount applies only to truck drivers with commercial E-ZPass tags issued by the Port Authority and offers an additional 10% discount for truckers who make 100 trips over any of the PA’s crossings during off-peak hours in a 30-day period.
The plan was approved by the PA’s board of directors last week and will be added on top of a discount for using E-ZPass over cash and traveling during off-peak hours.
Many Staten Island trucking and construction companies that use the crossings multiple times a day have been pushing for a commercial trucking discount along with the Island’s elected officials since the authority announced that it would raise its tolls in September of last year.
“This volume discount program before you today will encourage trucks to travel off-peak hours, which will decrease traffic congestion and promote a healthier environment,” said George Miranda, president of the Teamsters Joint Council 16 at the board meeting. “It would also promote a business-friendly environment, while ensuring that our regional infrastructure is properly maintained and will also go a long way to alleviate the burden on New York and New York’s hard-working men and women in the commercial truck driving industry.”
The teamsters official said that about 500 companies in the New York/New Jersey region would benefit from the new program, but for some like the New York Container Terminal, off-peak travel is not possible.
But the discount “means .... just about nothing to the truckers who use the New York Container Terminal (NYCT) at Howland Hook, because the facility is primarily open during peak hours,” according to a report by Staten Island Live.
“I’m glad that the Port Authority took the initiative to do that (offer the discount),” said Jim Devine, president & CEO of the NYCT. “Unfortunately that does not help us.”
NYCT is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. — much of that time is peak travel — and the many warehouses that the NYCT does business with, operate during similar times, so there would be almost no benefit for its drivers.
Devine is still hopeful that the NYCT and the Port Authority can work out a plan that benefits its “unique situation” with respect to toll relief. “In order to save maritime commerce in our harbor it has to happen,” Devine said.