Hundreds Protest CBB Tolls
The crowd congregated in front of McDonald’s at Beach 92 Street and Beach Channel Drive for a brief rally before proceeding over the bridge and into Broad Channel. In addition to losing the rebate, the MTA is now proposing an additional fare hike for residents starting in January 2011.
Congressman Anthony Weiner and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, the only two elected officials present, spoke to the hundreds of people prior to the march.
“I just got off the phone with the MTA and they are proposing a toll to go from your living room to your dining room!” Weiner said, prompting a huge response from the crowd.
According to MTA, the Cross Bay Bridge Resident Rebate program costs the agency $3.6 million annually, a mere drop in the ocean of the MTA’s ever-growing debts. Since the revocation of the program, the first two trips taken on each E-Z Pass tag between 12:01 a.m. and midnight on any given day are charged a resident rate of $1.13 per trip. After the first two trips, all other Cross Bay Bridge crossings on the same tag on the same day are free of charge.
But now, the MTA has proposed a fare hike on the Rockaway and Broad Channel residents, already feeling exploited, suggesting an increase to $1.24 per trip, while the cash toll will go up 25 cents to $3.00. Non-Rockaway residents with an E-Z Pass are looking at a toll increase from $1.71 to $1.88.
“He [Simon] utilized our entire community, organized the largest demonstration in our 40-year toll protest history,” Tubridy said. “He is now able to go back to the MTA and begin our negotiation for the elimination of this toll.”
Tubridy’s son, Patrick, suggests that social media played a big part in the turnout.
“Technology had a lot to do with spreading the word. There were more than 370 people that confirmed their attendance via Facebook,” he said. “But Simon showed me what a community activist is supposed to be.”