PANYNJ abusive crackdown on carpoolers -WSJ report

June 14, 2012

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is engaged in a  likely illegal crackdown on carpoolers, according to a Wall Street Journal report. PA police are harassing motorists who pick up casual carpoolers at a bus stop near the Fort Lee Toll Plaza contriving "illegal stop" and "lane change" infringements only when motorists have picked up a carpooler.

Motorists with two or more passengers in their car get $6 off the bridge toll - now $9.50 with E-ZPass and $12 cash.  The Journal reports that motorists and carpoolers informally hook up just before the Fort Lee bus stop. It works out well for both. The motorist saves $6 on the toll and the two pickups save a $2 fare by bus or jitney.

But the group has formed a lobby organization The Carpoolers to fight what it says is illegal harassment by PANYNJ police. There is no law or rule against motorists offering lifts to people at the bus stop but they feel they are being singled out.

Police only target vehicles picking up passengers -- not those dropping them at the bus stop or even those picking up people in the non-toll direction, say The Carpoolers.

The Journal reports Kudret Topyan, a resident of an apartment overlooking the bus stop has done hundreds of hours of observation that he has turned over to the Carpoolers group. Topyan also successfully fought a PA police ticket for an unsafe stop after stopping for a carpooler in plain view of a police car. He fought the ticket in court in New Jersey and the judge said it was unjustified, and dismissed it.

That WSJ's seventh PA crossing?

One thing intrigued us in the Wall Street Journal report - the statement that PANYNJ operates "seven bridges and tunnels in the region." We know of six - George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing. The WSJ's seventh is a mystery!

TOLLROADSnews 2012-06-13

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