New East River Bridges Toll Proposal Goes After Everyone, Including Bicyclists

50 Cents For Bikes, More Surcharges On Cabs Part Of 'Gridlock Sam' Plan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The city’s former traffic commissioner has a new plan to put tolls on East River bridges. But this proposal has some novel “selling points,” including a first-ever toll for cyclists.

Plan to toll the bridges have come and gone over the past few years, but the latest one by Sam Schwartz is starting to pick up steam, maybe because it goes after everyone.

“I’m trying to be equal opportunity pain throughout the region,” Schwartz said.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

Schwartz, known as “Gridlock Sam” to many, wasn’t kidding Friday when he told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer that his new plan to raise $1.2 billion a year tolling the East River bridges will hit a lot of people. He wants to make everyone pay, even some who think they should be exempt.

“I’m asking the bike riders to pay 50 cents each way to use the bridges coming into our Central Business District,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz also wants to put a new surcharge on yellow and livery cabs, a surcharge on so-called “black cars” and a surcharge on parking in Midtown. New tolls would be put on the Ed Koch Queensboro, the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges.

Driver would pay $5 with E-ZPass; $7 without.

But in exchange for keeping cars out of the Central Business District below 60th Street, Schwartz wants to reduce – that’s right, reduce — tolls on uptown spans, the Triboro, Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges.

The round-trip tab would drop from $13 to $8.

With Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Asia, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said that while the mayor isn’t supporting a congestion pricing plan at this time, it is necessary to find some way to fund mass transit.

“It is definitely vital that we figure out how we’re going to fund transit for the long term. It’s the only way New York City is going to stay competitive,” Holloway said.

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb: Deputy Mayor Says The Plan Will Get Due Consideration

Drivers are definitely not on board.

“It may help with traffic, but I mean I think we pay for enough as far as tolls coming into the city and gas prices the way it is. I don’t think we need more tolls,” Brooklyn resident Lance Smith said.

“I think it would just slow traffic more. I’m not really for it,” added Rhonda Rosenfeld of New Hyde Park.

“That would be a disaster,” another person said.

Just for the record, before 1911 there were tolls on the Ed Koch bridge — 10 cents for cars, 5 cents for push carts and 3 cents for horses.

Please share your thoughts below…

  • Roy Vegas

    Why not make everyone wear an ez pass, and every time one walks across the street, it could charge a penny. Too much regulation, too much charging.

  • Pete

    What’s next, chardge a boat for going under the bridge?

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  • Shafted

    Transit Union Mafia Needs Your Money Now. Shut up and pay up.
    Yu thinka yu gonna bike our bridge and not pay up fung gu.
    Don’t count on the politicians to come to the rescure, Chuck Schumer turns blind eye to the unions and mob, he chases after computer programmers, telemarketers and working people, anything for a headline.

  • AA

    time to ride the East River Ferry

  • ALEX

    How about charging Pedestrians we well to cross the bridges?? Fair is FARE!!!!!

  • V Licitra

    This mayor and the central city residents are going to try to restrict, as much as possible, access to their inner circle. It is an attempt to ghettoize the outter bouroughs. It is shortsighted, vulgar, elietist, and smacks of hypocrocy.

  • suibne

    that’s it you idiot, make sure you penalize the very people who were trying to help solve your pollution, traffic problem all these years. anybody who thinks of running for office should be kicked hard in second grade. after that, remove their feet if they insist on keeping it up.

  • The Freeholder

    I guess ending some of the mayor’s more quixotic quests, like salt in food and trying to enforce NY laws in other states, wouldn’t save enough money to help, huh?

  • valricoslash

    Why stop at 50 cents? If bicyclists want theffull righs and privileges of other vehicles on the roads, then they should pay the same tolls as well.

  • Fred

    ““I’m trying to be equal opportunity pain throughout the region”

    how about taxing the illegals and all the welfare recipients. You have 10% of NYC paying for the free ride of the other 80%. It’s disgusting and plainly not working.

  • Steve

    Typical lib. They push alternative energy as a cost savings then want to punish people that follow their plan.

  • MikeHenrySC

    “Share the road” has been a mantra of bicyclists for years. Now they can “share the taxes” for using those roads.

  • Articbob

    Try something transforming and kit bloomberg out of office. His record of “It’s good for NYers” has not but drove the City into the spiral of overtaxing, over regulation, The man needs to go and get the economy. There is one big obstacle, He’s filthy rich and will be hard to unlodge for his position of supremness. But it’s your choice!

  • OrlandoRican

    Another reason why I moved out of New York. Why don’t they figure out how much this tax will generate and cut an equal amount from what they are spending now on one of the city’s multiple vote-buying programs. Or fire the idiott who came up with this idea. I’m sure he is costing the city a lot of money.

  • kcsparky

    If New York really wants change, the progressive liberal love affair will have to stop and getting the unions under control. That means unions working for its members….not owning and controlling them These people just didn’t appear…they were elected and is the problem of every resident there. These kinds of things will not change until your city, county and state governments are rid of progressive liberalism and over-controlling big government. Open your eyes and wake up!! But don’t feel alone….it is a real national problem.

  • kcsparky

    If New York really wants chqnge, the progressive liberal love affair will have to stop and getting the unions under control. That means unions working for its members….not owning and controlling them These people just didn’t appear…they were elected and is the problem of every resident there. These kinds of things will not change until your city, county and state governments are rid of progressive liberalism and over-controlling big government. Open your eyes and wake the fu(k up!! But don’t feel alone….it is a real national problem.

  • Steve

    You people who vote for liberals deserve everything you get. Liberals don’t belong in any position of power because they are mentally ill. Yet you vote for them.

  • ed lynn

    Maybe you should only charge people to enter New York. If they are leaving the Big Apple, they should be allowed to leave for free. Isn’t their departure a blessing for New Yorkers? Better yet, pay people to lave New York and not return After all, New York is just too good for the rest of the USA.

  • Mark S

    I have an idea. Charge Democrats $20.00 per day per direction (they always advocate more taxes) and let Republicans cross for free. I think everyone in NYC would be a Republican.

    • SerfCityHereWeCome

      Having (unfortunately) been born and raised in that area, trust me, you WILDLY underestimate the extent of the mindlessly rigid ideological dogma of Bloombergrad inmates. They would smuggle nukes to terrorists in a heartbeat to raise the money for the tolls before abandoning their beloved Depressioncrat party, even after a Republican were to die in the process of rescuing their entire family from a burning building and then having a Depressioncrat walk by and murder their freshly-rescued family and laugh in their faces.

    • ed lynn

      You naughty boy. Its a great idea.

  • Luke

    NYC has had the East Coast Disease a long, long time. Hey, New York. Why don’t you do what the rest of the people do. If you don’t have enough money, cut back your spending. Don’t hit people that are already suffering from this recession with more taxes and fees!!

  • doug

    yes yes yes let’s tax the bike riders Then pick me as commissioner for let’s say 250k then i’ll need a staff and a limo and an office and an enforcement arm riding BMW sport bikes to catch those offenders and perhaps a bike riders jail and here we go again. Kudos to all the safe bike riders the ones that stop at lights and don’t pass on the right good job to the both of you the rest can throw a double lip lock on my love muscle

  • TexasJohn

    Add tolls and taxes….but never once does government willingly want to live within it’s means.

  • john

    another sickness of failed socialism we dont have enough money for our failed policies so lets forcefully get it under penalty of law “legalized thievery” there is no end to this as long as we continue like sheep to pay wake up its long past time for a tax revolt to stop this recklessness on every level!

  • DavidArizona

    Pedestrians should be licensed also. They could hang little placards over their shoulders. Just think of the possibilities of “personalized” pedestrian plates!

  • SerfCityHereWeCome

    How about a Gasoline-Tax-and-Car-Insurance-Avoidance Tax of $100K per year on all bicycles and pairs of shoes? How would it be different from Stalinized Deathcare?

  • commonsense

    I’m so fed up with te winers . it was described many years ago the socialist democrat’s goal was “shared misery” so you’re only getting the results from years of electing people with this political agenda,
    hey pony up to the bar and pay your “fair share”. how’s the hope and change working for you ?

  • SerfCityHereWeCome

    C’mon people, work together for a compromise. Remove the middle 100-foot section from all the bridges and only charge the locals half the toll from each direction.


    Every time i read something about another insane NYC policy it reminds me that NY is nothing but a huge prison populated by slaves and slave owners. What a nightmare. You already paid out the ass in taxes for the roads and bridges and now you are to be taxed DAILY for using what you have already purchased….while riding a bike? Maybe pedestrians should be taxed since their feet wear down the sidewalk…also it would bring in revenue. How about helmets that close off the air so you can’t breath without putting in a quarter every 10 minutes? It would bring in revenue. It would make people waste less air..which after all belongs to the government. I feel complete pity for the prisoners and slaves trapped in that hell.

    • SerfCityHereWeCome


      The mandatory licensing of all pedestrians is no doubt already underway but production of the helmets has been delayed until the Chinese manufacturer can figure out how to raise the lead and melamine content of them to an acceptable level to keep IQ levels in check in the harmless and docile lower 20s. I feel no pity whatsoever for them (or at least the 90%+ who voted for this unending idiocy). Stupidity should be painful and expensive. Extreme stupidity should be extremely painful and expensive.

  • BubbaT

    Wow the least coast is just like California now. This is what you get when Democrats run things.

  • Rowdy Boots






    • SerfCityHereWeCome

      Greetings, fellow Bloombergrad escapee.

  • BicycleBob

    At .50 cents a bike, NTC should have enough money by the end of next year to
    pay for one days salary of a municipal worker….this save them money….
    On the other hand, life is so pleasant while I pass the gas stations, on my 12 mile commute here in West Virginia.
    In addition I dont need government taxation and this is why I protest that taxation
    on my brother bicyclists–Rise against the Machine !!!!!

  • redruffansore

    How about a toll for stupid statements, Mayo Bloomtard would be broke in a week.

  • Bart

    The city must be having a problem paying all the 6 figure pensions to retired city workers. Glad I don’t live there. Yeesh.

    • Rowdy Boots

      He is morally broke–like all lib slobs….KEEP VOTING IN THESE CREEPS WHO TAKE ALL YOUR MONEY–



  • Sam

    Those NYC limousine liberal elites are always demanding increased taxes. Here’s their opportunity to tax themselves – go for it!

  • El Ka'Bong

    It’s time bicyclists pay their “fair share”

  • jens

    Well if they use the bridge they should pay the toll – pretty simple really. But bike riders are probably just another bunch of liberals who don’t actually want to have to pay their FAIR share

  • rick

    When are you fools in NYC going to say: I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore?

    How long before they tax you for each child and each breath?

  • Robert g

    It’s about time they tax bicycles

  • lkl

    The problem with NY is like all cities ran by liberals, they thinks taxes are the only way to solve a problem. Look at Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles all are doing the same things taxing their citizens into the ground. What will they tax next the turds your dog drops on a walk?

  • Sensible American

    Liberal governments one-track mind solution for every problem: more taxes

  • steve

    This is a racist policy that will disproportionately affect Asians! When was the last time you saw a bruthuh on a bike?

  • steve

    So glad we got the hell out of NY in 2005! I used to travel from Long Island to the Catskill region and it would cost about $20 round trip in tolls and fees. I now travel from northeast PA to the Catskills and pay NO TOLLS!!
    But keep voting for Democrats!

    • SerfCityHereWeCome

      I used to do a similar route and it only cost me a buck, total, plus the gas. Took the QB/59th St Br into the city, the GWB into NJ and then either the Palisades or 17, depending upon destination, and then for the return trip, the Bear Mountain Bridge back over the Hudson eastbound for a buck then down through the western Bronx and hopped over one of the Harlem River bridges into Manhattan, then down the FDR (shudder) to the 59th St Br and that was that. The bare minimum feeding of the beast. Gassed up while in NJ too of course. :-)

  • Freemon SandleWould

    This is what you get with liberalism. The elite make you pay any which way.

    They are the new monarchy and you liberals created them.

  • NYC Boy

    What you need are a bunch of fat cops, you know those Pinkerton Thug criminals who descend up on protesters and criminally and unconstitutionally assault the protestors and then claim disabilities when the protestors fight back. They then go on disability with a huge pension that you morons pay for.
    Well, guess what- they punked you fools.
    Now, pay up cyclist stooge!

  • Hamilton Wentworth



  • mo

    How about the cyclists start contributing to the infrastructure. This is a perfect way.

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