How to Avoid Tolls when Driving in New York

Three Parts:Avoiding Tolls AltogetherLowering the Cost of TollsExploring Alternative Options

New York tolls can get really expensive. Tolls tend to rise over time, and if you have a commute every day expenses can really add up. You can find ways to avoid tolls all together by being open to alternative routes. You can also reduce the cost of tolls by carpooling more often and investing in an EZ pass. Explore alternatives to driving. You can bike or take public transportation to get out of paying tolls.

Part 1
Avoiding Tolls Altogether

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    Learn where you can expect big tolls. This way, you'll know when you need to be vigilant about switching up your route. This is especially important if you're just getting used to a commute and need to know which roads to avoid.[1][2]
    • There are many online tools you can use to find tolls. There are websites that allow you to enter your planned route that can show you any tolls.
    • Be aware, toll prices do change. Tolls may be more expensive than posted online. On the chance you find a toll you cannot avoid, make sure to carry more cash than you need in case the toll has increased.
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    Look for toll free bridges. If you're in New York City, you may need to get between boroughs. Certain bridges in New York have hefty tolls, so opt for toll free bridges when possible. The following bridges in New York are toll free:[3]
    • The Brooklyn Bridge
    • The Manhattan Bridge
    • The Williamsburg Bridge
    • The Queens Bridge
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    Avoid the turnpike. If you commute into the city and use the New Jersey Turnpike, tolls can be quite high. This can be easily avoided by taking Routes 1 and 1/9, which are toll free.
    • Account for time, however. Taking Routes 1 and 1/9 may take longer than the turnpike depending on traffic. Get a time estimate using a GPS device prior to leaving your home.
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    Explore alternative routes. This is among the best ways to avoid tolls. If you can find a back road to take, or a road free of tolls, this is a great way to avoid paying hefty tolls.[4]
    • You may be able to avoid tolls by foregoing the highway. If you can get where you're going by driving through main streets and residential areas, this may be a great way to avoid tolls.
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    Use technology to skip tolls. If you're unsure of an alternative route, make use of technology. GPS maps can help you find a toll free route, or a route with limited tolls.[5][6]
    • Google Maps can be used to find a toll free routes in your area. You can select the option of finding a route without tolls.
    • Wave, another GPS app, can also be used to avoid tolls. You would simply go to "Settings," then "Navigation" and select the option "Avoid Toll Roads."
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    Make sure to account for time. While skipping toll roads can save you money, always check traffic. Routes that are toll free often run through residential areas. Traffic may be heavy, and you may hit a lot of lights. If you're driving to avoid tolls, you may want to give yourself extra time.[7]

Part 2
Lowering the Cost of Tolls

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    Carpool. If you're driving in a carpool lane, your tolls will generally be cheaper. Consider carpooling to work to avoid paying hefty tolls.[8]
    • You can network with coworkers who live in your area. See if they would be interested in carpooling to work on a regular basis.
    • Some people pick up hitchhikers to avoid tolls. You should refrain from doing so, as toll workers may get suspicious and this can also be dangerous.
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    Invest in an E-Z Pass account and box. This is an electronic toll payment that sometimes offers cheaper rates than paying tolls directly. For example, crossing the Verrazano Bridge without an EZ pass costs $16. Crossing it with an E-Z Pass is only $11.08.[9]
    • There are usually not specific requirements to sign up for an E-Z Pass. However, your car needs to be registered in New York.
    • E-Z pass has a variety of plans to choose from. Browse plans before settling on one to find a plan that's cost effective for you.
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    Watch out for increases in tolls. Tolls do increase all the time. Even with an E-Z Pass box, and when taking the carpool lane, you could be in for a sudden increase in price. Make sure to be vigilant when going through a toll road. Listen to how much you're being charged. If tolls go up suddenly, consider looking for an alternative route with cheaper tolls or no tolls.[10]

Part 3
Exploring Alternative Options

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    Consider public transportation. If you can take a metro, train, or bus to your destination, this will usually be cheaper than taking a toll. Use Google Maps or a similar application to see how your route would look taking public transportation.[11]
    • You usually have to get some kind of pass to take public transportation, so look into rates. Even if passes are expensive, they're usually cheaper than paying a toll every day.
    • Make sure to account for time. Public transportation usually takes longer than driving, so make sure to leave earlier than normal. Give yourself extra time in case you miss a train or a bus.
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    Try biking, if possible. It may be dangerous to bike to your destination. However, if you can bike through side streets and residential areas, this can be a great alternative to driving. In addition to saving you money, biking is eco friendly and can give you some exercise.
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    Limit your need for driving. There's a good chance you're driving more than you need to. Look into ways you can avoid driving every day, as this will result in you paying less tolls.[12]
    • Try ordering more online. Use sites like Amazon to order items instead of driving out to a store.
    • Ask your work about telecommuting. In many jobs, you don't necessarily need to be present in the office every day. If you can telecommute some days, this will cut down on money spent on tolls.

Warnings

  • When avoiding tolls, always check traffic beforehand. Avoiding a $6.50 toll is not worth sitting in traffic for an hour.

Article Info

Categories: Road & Rail Travel