MTA seizes 19 ‘ghost’ cars registered to toll violators at Queens Midtown Tunnel on Monday

The MTA cracked down on persistent toll violators at the Queens Midtown Tunnel in Long Island City on Monday, seizing 19 “ghost” cars and issuing 81 summonses.
Photo courtesy of the MTA

Two days before the MTA Board approved the controversial congestion pricing plan for Manhattan on Wednesday, the agency cracked down on persistent toll violators at the Queens Midtown Tunnel in Long Island City.

Photo courtesy of the MTA

MTA Bridges and Tunnels seized 19 vehicles registered to persistent scofflaws on Monday and issued 81 summonses and confiscated two fraudulent incense plates. The MTA noted that the scofflaws accounted for approximately $483,000 in combined unpaid tolls and fees. One of the top persistent toll violators from the targeted enforcement owed nearly $76,000 in tolls and fees.

Photo courtesy of the MTA

“MTA Bridges and Tunnels has a very simple message — don’t cover your license plate or use fake plates. Your car may also be seized and you could be arrested,” MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Catherine Sheridan said. “These offenders are stealing money from the public’s pockets when they illegally use our bridges and tunnels.”

Photo courtesy of the MTA

The operation was carried out by the ghost car task force which includes MTA police, NYPD, the Port Authority Police Department, New York State Troopers and the NYC Sheriff’s Office. Another joint operation took place on Thursday, Mar. 21 at the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels. That same day, the task force arrested 15 motorists at the Whitestone Bridge and issued 192 summonses and seized 42 vehicles.

“It’s not fair when drivers in expensive sports cars skip out on thousands of dollars in tolls, and New Yorkers are tired of it,” Sheridan said.

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 13, 2023, Bridge and Tunnel officers intercepted 2,705 vehicles — a 50% increase from the same time in 2022 and surpassed a total of 1,880 vehicles that were seized in all of 2022. Bridge and Tunnel officers have also issued more than 3,000 summonses for covered or obstructed plates since the beginning of the year. Since the start of Open Road Tolling, Bridge and Tunnel officers have interdicted more than 9,500 vehicles due to persistent non-payment of tolls.

“The results of this latest operation are a reminder to motorists that New York law enforcement will not tolerate drivers operating ‘ghost’ vehicles on our streets and highways,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said. “I thank and commend our NYPD officers, and everyone from our partner agencies involved in this ongoing effort, for their continued dedication to our shared public safety mission.”