Governor Cuomo’s focus on beating fares will finally affect drivers.
This year’s state budget contains a provision that would increase the penalty for bypassing a bridge toll for “theft of services” – the same fee as for bypassing bus and subway fares or for a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of $ 1,000. A second provision would increase the fine for passing a cashless toll booth with an illegible license plate of $ 25 to a minimum of $ 100.
The timing is certainly related to the introduction of bottleneck prices, which could start with a system on January 1, 2020 similar to E-Z Pass already used on bridges, highways and tunnels around the state. Devices in the toll zone seamlessly charge E-Z-Pass holders or send an invoice to drivers without an E-Z-Pass by reading the driver’s license plate.
Governor Cuomo may have anticipated drivers’ concerns and suspected that the toll mockers were no longer so difficult to bear. He scolded the good old days when armed guards patrolled the toll booths operated by Robert Moses, the megalomaniac electricity broker.
“He used armed personnel because you had to pay the customs,” said Cuomo in the friendly atmosphere of Alan Chartock’s nationwide radio show. “We are the other way around now, you have electronic fees, no one will get out with a gun to stop you.” (He sounded almost disappointed.)
Dodging Cuomo to Chartock on the toll motorway, suggests it’s a shame you can’t shoot her
“[Robert Moses] Use armed personnel because you would have to pay the toll. We are the other way around now, you have electronic fees, no one will get out with a gun to stop you. “
– Clayton Guse (@ClaytonGuse) February 5, 2020
Cuomo’s bill is not only timed to overcharge pricing, but also to his relentless demands for raids against fare evasion in. The subway and buses that hire 500 new MTA police officers to counter this particular form of “theft of services.” “to proceed.
The difference, of course, is that the majority of fare evaders are poor and rarely commit the crime, while drivers who deface their license plates not only commit “theft” at the toll booths every day, but also avoid the driver’s license. The signs are red-light cameras or radar cameras caught in the school zone – which means that their crime is far more serious than a person who skips a turnstile.
The anonymous holder of the Twitter anti-corruption account @PlacardAbuse Cuomo called the increased punishments for falsifying license plates “encouraging”, but Cuomo should have gone much further than just mocking drivers in cashless toll zones.
“It is encouraging that they are trying to fight some of the forms of corruption that we have seen increasingly,” they wrote. “[But] Allowing concealed or obscured license plates outside of toll areas would allow ruthless drivers to continue to avoid enforcing security cameras. This would also reduce the ability to enforce these crimes through routine law enforcement across the state, which would put more pressure on specialized law enforcement with additional costs and impact on traffic flow in congested areas where the toll is levied. “
It is unclear how many drivers would be subject to the new fees. In January last year, journalist Steve Bodzin submitted an application for freedom of information to the MTA to identify three basic points:
- From March 1 through September 30, 2018, how many vehicles did MTA charge with camera tolls (instead of E-Z passport or cash) on each bridge and tunnel?
- How often is the camera unable to collect a toll due to illegible license plates?
- How many subpoenas have drivers received on or around your bridges and tunnels for making license plates illegible, damaged or otherwise illegible?
The agency has not yet responded, but has sent Bodzin at least six emails stating that the FOIL team will receive the data “in approximately twenty (20) business days.”
Bodzin is still waiting.
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