Carpoolers Launch Online Campaign, Call Port Authority Ticketing 'Unfair'
Group said they were being unfairly targeted and ticketed for picking up passengers near GWB tollbooths; now they’ve started a petition in hopes of stopping what they see as unfair treatment on the part of the Port Authority.
A group of Fort Lee residents and fellow carpoolers from neighboring towns has started an online petition in hopes of stopping the Port Authority from what they see as “unfairly targeting” them for picking up passengers in the area of the bus stop just before the George Washington Bridge tollbooths on the south side of Bridge Plaza.
The group mobilized last year to demand that Port Authority police stop ticketing would be carpoolers for violations like illegally taking on passengers or stopping at a bus stop in what some of them described as a “crackdown” and others saw as a form of “harassment.”
They contended that police were discouraging carpooling at the bridge, even though the agency’s “Carpool Plan” allows commuters to benefit from what it calls “the largest toll discount” at its bridges and tunnels, with inconsistent and seemingly arbitrary enforcement.
They also noted that it has been common practice for many years for drivers to pull up in that area, where there’s a line of people waiting for a lift across the bridge, and pointed out that nobody is getting tickets for picking up passengers at the bus stop on the north side of Bridge Plaza heading away from the bridge.
They demanded in October 2011 that their tickets be dismissed, and that the Port Authority stop going after them or set aside a zone in the area of the tollbooths where they can legally take on passengers and take advantage of the carpool discount—just $3.50 if the driver has an E-ZPass account, is registered for the carpool plan, has three or more people in their non-commercial vehicle, uses a staffed “Cash E-ZPass” toll lane and comes to a complete stop so a toll collector can verify the number of occupants in the car.
The group started their online campaign using iPetitions late last week, and as of Sunday afternoon, they had more than 20 signatures.
“Car pooling saves people money—both the driver and the passenger,” wrote Marilyn Hamburg, who spoke with Patch last year, in the optional comments section of the petition. “It expedites getting across the bridge. It relieves congestion [at] the bus stop.”
Hamburg also wrote, “It inspires a feeling of community among fellow commuters.”
Another signatory, who wrote that he has been carpooling across the bridge for years because of “fluctuating” gas prices and high toll fees, said, “I have no choice but to carpool.”
“It's environmentally and economically viable in all [aspects] for tomorrow's world,” he said.
Others wrote simply, “Do the Right Thing PA!” and “Allow us to pick up carpoolers!”
The petition, entitled, “Stop Port Authority NY NJ harassment on GW Bridge carpoolers!” reads as follows:
Port Authority NY NJ police has been unfairly targeting GW Bridge carpoolers issuing them heavy fines with baseless traffic statutes and double standard.
Carpool at the GW Bridge underpass is the most strategic location to ease rush hour traffic, in addition to being both environmentally and economically sound especially in today's economy. Hefty tolls & fines levied on North Jersey residents to finance The World Trade Center is to begin with unfair and ultimately harassment when drivers get penalty of $230.00.
We stand united to protest this highway robbery from the PA!!
Fort Lee resident May Chin, who started the petition, told Patch in October that she can no longer afford to drive into the city.
“We’re just doing what we’ve been doing all these years,” Chin said at the time.