Traveling into and out of New York is quite expensive these days, and many drivers will testify to this fact. With the ever-rising cost of gasoline, car maintenance, and road tolls, you end up spending much more than you bargained for on regular trips. Some will argue that there is not much you can do about the price of gasoline and car maintenance, but how much you pay as toll is very much within your purview. Even if you have an EZ Pass account, you don’t have to spend too much on tolls because you can avoid it.
Motorists who drive from DC to New York very often may end up spending a few hundred dollars every month on tolls. Multiply this by 12 months, and you will realize that it’s not doing your EZ Pass balance much good. The same thing goes for the New Jersey Turnpike into New York and other tolls around the city.
Why are road tolls so expensive?
Reaching a conclusive answer to this question is not as clear cut as it should be. Since the last decade or so, road tolls have increased progressively as state traffic authorities cut down on a budget of road maintenance and transfer the cost to road users. On the surface, there are factors one can point to explain this phenomenon better.
Road tolls use transponders
Toll roads use transponders, and these transponders cost money. What even adds to the cost is when you factor in the different prices at which transponders are sold in different states. The cost of purchasing a transponder in New York is not the same as obtaining one in New Jersey. When you also consider their limited lifespan, you will agree that frequently changing your transponder will only add to the extended cost of using toll roads.
You are charged for each use
Every time you drive through a toll plaza, you pay a toll fee for access. While a single trip may not cost you so much, using the toll route several times a day or several times a week will accumulate a bill that may be too expensive for you.
Some traffic authorities also charge toll users maintenance fees for using their transponders. Now, this issue of maintenance fees is a very touchy subject for many. If you own an EZ Pass transponder and you only ply a toll road a few times every year, you will pay the same maintenance fee as someone else who plies the route several times a day. This doesn’t seem like fair costing does it? But it remains in force today and contributes to the general cost of using an EZ Pass route.
Driving out-of-state attracts extra cost
If you are traveling to a state like New Jersey from New York, you can use the same EZ Pass transponder because New Jersey uses EZ Pass as well. But for states that use a different collection system, you will have to get a new transponder or avoid the toll roads in such states completely.
Some routes are just too expensive
The Verrazano bridge in New York is regarded as the most expensive toll road in the US, and if feelers are anything to go by, toll fares will not be dropping anytime soon as increases are expected. Driving through routes that attract more than the average $5 fare may bore a very deep hole into your pocket if you ply these routes several times a week.
From the above points, you can truly understand why more than a few motorists prefer to use non-tolled routes despite the delays they pose. If you desire to save yourself a few extra dollars in toll bills monthly, you need to learn how to look for routes that do not have toll plazas. Read on to find out how to go about it.
How to get directions without Tolls?
There are two basic ways to navigate the City without using tolls. You can do so with the aid of technology or manual means.
Using Technology to get Toll-less directions
The technology we speak of is nothing more than the use of online apps. There are several trusted apps you can use to get directions, but we will limit our discussion to just three popular apps in use today. Here are ways to get driving directions using online apps.
#1 Google Maps
Google Maps is the most popular app for getting directions, and it is very easy to use. Once you launch the app:
- Choose a destination then tap the dots at the top right corner of your screen to open Settings
- Pick the “Route Options”
- Use available toggles to avoid ferries, highways, and tolls
Waze is also another tested and trusted app that can be relied upon to get driving directions without road tolls. All you have to do is to install and launch the app:
- Tap the Search icon to open the main menu
- Press the gear settings to find the “Avoid tolls Toggle”
- To avoid highways, tap the Navigation button to find other toggles for other routes
#3 Apple Maps
Apple is another user-friendly app with a relatively straightforward direction finder.
- Input your destination into the search bar and the open the bar underneath the screen
- The bar will reveal “Driving Options”
- Tap the options to open the “Avoid Tolls and Highway” (you can switch it on and off at any time)
Getting Directions manually
If you want to use this option, you need to be a street smart driver. Beyond that, you must be quite familiar with the intracity routes, and the road back ends. If you are, simply seek out alternative routes that do not warrant you using any of the highways. Driving through council avenues and main streets will also help you avoid road with tolls.
Seeking directions manually may lead to a longer time on the road due to traffic, but you will definitely save some cash on your EZ Pass account.