As the city’s for-hire vehicles (FHVs) rack up nearly 800,000 rides per day, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced on Wednesday the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s new plan to extend last year’s cap on for-hire vehicle licenses, the New York Post reports. A second cap will be placed on the length of time FHVs can let their cars cruise the city without passengers in the most congested part of Manhattan, below 96th Street. Last August, the city also suspended the issuance of new licenses. The new policies are expected to increase driver salaries by about 20 percent and make traffic in Manhattan below 60th Street six to 10 percent faster.
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As details like discounts and transit perks are discussed in the wake of New York’s newly approved plan to levy a congestion fee on vehicles entering Manhattan’s business district south of 61st Street, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has voiced objections to the plan, saying it it could be unfair to New Jersey residents, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the New York Post, commuter rail discounts are on the way for New York City residents coming from areas–such as some in northeast Queens–not served by subways, where the MTA agreed to knock 20 percent–$45–off monthly passes for LIRR commuters entering and leaving Penn Station. The MTA will also invest $3 million for express bus service from Queens to Midtown.
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Drivers traveling in the busiest parts of Manhattan will be charged an extra fee under a new initiative approved by state lawmakers Sunday. The first of its kind in the country, the “Central Business District Tolling” program installs electronic tolling devices on the perimeter of a zone that covers all neighborhoods south of 60th Street in the borough, with the exception of the West Side Highway and FDR Drive. While details for the program remain unclear, including how much it will cost drivers, the congestion fees will not be implemented until 2021.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio endorsed congestion pricing and a proposal to reorganize the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in a joint 10-point plan released on Tuesday. The joint plan, which requires legislative approval, calls for tolls to be collected south of 61st Street in Manhattan, with the exception of FDR Drive. Cuomo said on Tuesday he hopes the package of transit proposals is included in the state budget, which lawmakers must pass by April 1. The tolls would not take effect until December 2020, if approved.
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Congestion surcharges on taxis and other for-hire vehicles in Manhattan will begin soon after a judge lifted a temporary restriction of the fees on Thursday, the New York Times reports. The new fees were supposed to start on January 1st but a coalition of taxi drivers filed a last-minute lawsuit against the “suicide surcharge,” fearing that the new policy will drive away customers and deal another significant blow to the ailing industry. The proposed fee of $2.50 for yellow taxis and $2.75 for other for-hire vehicles will bring the minimum taxi fare up to $5.80 while the minimum cost for an Uber, which already has an $8 base fare in Manhattan, will see an increase to $10.75.
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Under the state’s new congestion pricing measure, starting in January it will cost $5.80 to get into a yellow cab in the most congested sections of Manhattan. Approved by state lawmakers earlier this year, the surcharge on for-hire vehicles affects all rides between Lower Manhattan and 96th Street during the busiest times of the day. But drivers of yellow cabs worry the fee will affect them more than app-based ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, which can mask the surcharge by tweaking trip costs (h/t WSJ).
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Actress and candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon released last week her plan to fix New York City’s transit system and many of the ideas look pretty familiar. To pay for much-needed subway repairs, Nixon’s plan calls for congestion pricing, a concept supported by her opponent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and a millionaires’ tax, an idea backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio (h/t NY Post). Her campaign also details imposing a polluter fee on fossil fuel companies to “generate billions of dollars to be used to fund New York’s transition to green energy.”
And while disparaging the MTA remains one of the focal points of her campaign, Nixon’s plan to upgrade the subways is nearly identical to the Fast Forward plan released by NYC Transit Authority President Andy Byford last month. Jon Weinstein, a spokesperson for the MTA, said in a statement: “After three months of slamming the MTA in the press, Ms. Nixon released a plan to fix the subways and it was the MTA’s plan. Thanks.”
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Congestion pricing is dead in the water again. But New York City’s traffic and subway problems continue to get worse while the population and Cuomo and De Blasio’s battles continue to grow. Something has to give. With that in mind, the question remains, if congestion pricing ever happens, what is the relationship between congestion pricing and NYC real estate?
HEAD OVER TO CITYREALTY FOR THE ANALYSIS…