NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Long-awaited congestion pricing is about to get its first real road test in Midtown Manhattan, but the roll-out is ripe with concerns and complaints.
It’s perhaps public enemy number one for commuters on the streets of New York City; the tremendous, often standstill congestion caused by the seemingly endless sea of Ubers, Lyfts, and Vias.
“You can’t drive in the city anymore,” one person told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport. “The traffic is too horrible.”
Mixed with yellow cabs, the combination chokes off our streets and avenues with traffic. One driver called the congestion the worst he’d seen in 50 years in the city.
A recent plan passed by lawmakers in Albany which goes into effect next year imposes a $2.75 surcharge on for-hire vehicles like Uber and Lyft while travelling below 96th Street, and a $2.50 surcharge on yellow cabs.
The hope is that the added expense might discourage riders and improve traffic while raising $400 million in revenue for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Not so fast, says Alex Matthiessen of MoveNY. The group is trying to solve the city’s congestion problem.
“The surcharge that was just passed is not gonna make an appreciable dent in traffic congestion,” Matthiessen said.
With congestion seemingly at its apex and the market for ride-sharing services seeming over-saturated, CBS2 asked the city’s Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg why they didn’t limit the number of those types of vehicles.
“It was something the mayor proposed a few years ago,” she said. “It did not meet with favor with the city council. He recently announced he’s ready to pursue it again and we’ll see what the city council thinks.”
On the subject of the proposed surcharge as a means to limit congestion, Trottenberg called it “a good first step.”
By some estimates in New York City, there are four times more ride-sharing vehicles than there are yellow cabs on the road.