Author: Mike Brant
In a development that has stirred mixed emotions among motorists, it seems that change is on the horizon for New Jersey’s toll roads. Specifically, drivers on the Garden State Parkway will bid farewell to the long-standing 75-cent toll—an alteration that reflects an ongoing trend, one that hasn’t necessarily been met with open arms.
Before delving into the details, it’s important to note that this transformation has nothing to do with speed limits. While many drivers may yearn for a higher speed limit on the Garden State Parkway, even reaching a speedy 75 mph, the reality is quite different. Presently, there are already numerous drivers who exceed the 65 mph limit, despite its imposition for the majority of the highway.
So, if not speed, what exactly is the cause for this anticipated change? It may not be immediately apparent, but upon realization, it becomes somewhat disheartening.
For the sake of discussion, let’s temporarily set aside any considerations of E-ZPass discounts and focus solely on cash payments—the very method highlighted on toll signs as we approach our destinations.
A careful observation of on-ramp and off-ramp tolls reveals that certain toll booths charge a meager 75 cents per vehicle. Regrettably, this may soon become a thing of the past.
Recently, toll hikes were announced for New Jersey’s toll roads, including the Garden State Parkway. Consequently, traversing the same roadway will come at a higher price.
What makes the current 75-cent fare significant is its status as the lowest toll on the Garden State Parkway, barring any E-ZPass discounts. However, as we venture into 2024, we inch closer to the inevitable reality of the minimum fare increasing to one dollar.
Moreover, one can’t help but wonder about the future of E-ZPass discounts. As cash lanes continue to dwindle in numbers over the years, it becomes increasingly clear that electronic toll payment systems are steadily becoming the norm. While E-ZPass currently offers modest concessions, will these discounts remain in place once it becomes the sole means of paying tolls on New Jersey’s toll roads?
The situation echoes the small discount granted for using tokens as a form of payment—a nod to the past that prompts a reflection on how much cheaper tolls once were.
As we bid adieu to the 75-cent toll on the Garden State Parkway, changes are underway that may reshape the landscape of toll collection. Whether these alterations will be met with acceptance or resistance remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the toll road experience in New Jersey is entering a new chapter.