The MTA is reeling under the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis with ridership decreasing by up to 90 percent in the subway system as social distancing is preventing people from being in packed subway cars and buses. Due to this strain, the MTA announced that the planned toll rebate program on the Cross Bay Bridge will be suspended until further notice.
Originally, state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato worked to get the MTA to provide a refund for the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge, which connects the mainland to the Rockaway peninsula, for all Queens residents. Through E-ZPass, drivers of vehicles registered in Queens will receive the money for the rollback as a credit on their bill.
This was to go into effect this summer.
“We have all been negatively affected by the coronavirus and the MTA is no exception,” Addabbo said. “The MTA is suffering greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic as fewer and fewer people in the city are taking public transportation, with reports estimating the MTA losing nearly $125 million dollars per week. I am disappointed that the MTA will be postponing the toll rebate program on the Cross Bay Bridge until further notice. Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and I worked diligently to get the rebate, but we understand that once we have the coronavirus under control, the Cross Bay Bridge will be free for Queens residents, and encourage more people to visit the Rockaways and support local businesses.”
With the MTA now closing subway service from 1 a.m to 5 a.m. for overnight cleaning operations, they will be taking in even less money.
“To say I’m disappointed by the postponement of the Queens Resident Cross Bay Bridge Rebate is an understatement, but I understand that the MTA is experiencing never-before-seen economic hardship, and tough decisions have to be made during unprecedented times,” Pheffer Amato said. “We fought so hard for this, for our communities, and it was seen as something that would never be able to happen. Just because the rebate is on PAUSE like the rest of us, does not mean we will not fight to make sure it’s reinstated as soon as possible as we help our state recover from the crippling economic damage this pandemic has caused.”
The Cross Bay Bridge is the only crossing in the city that requires drivers to pay a toll to travel within the same borough. Addabbo and Pheffer Amato will continue to update the community on when this rebate program will go into effect as the situation develops.