On January 1, 2012 the tolls rates increased dramatically (about 50%) on the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. The increase is the second part of a 2-step plan approved by former Governor Jon Corzine in 2008. Last year, in the first step, tolls increased by 40% – 43%. As a result of the New Year’s Day 2012 toll hike, it’s estimated that the average passenger car toll increased from 70 cents to $1.05 on the Parkway, and from $2.20 to $3.30 on the Turnpike.
There’s a little bit of good news for some of us, however. I haven’t seen it publicized very much, but toll discounts are available to senior citizens (65 years of age and over) and to anyone who drives certain “green” vehicles (those rated at 45 miles per gallon or better, and meeting the California Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle or SULEV standard).
In order to apply for the senior citizen discount program, you must have a New Jersey E-Z Pass account, have a vehicle registered in your name (in any state) and a valid driver’s license issued by any state. The discount will apply to only one (1) EZPass transponder, so if you’re a senior who drives more than one vehicle, you’ll have to make sure you move the designated transponder to the vehicle that you’re driving.
The senior citizen discount amounts to 10% of the off-peak rates on the Parkway and the Turnpike, and is valid Monday through Friday. The application is easy to fill out, and is available on the web at http://www.state.nj.us/turnpike/documents/nj-Senior-Discount-Program-Application-62011.pdf
To apply for the “Green Pass” discount, you must call New Jersey EZPass at 1-888-AUTOTOLL (1-888-288-6865).