Congestion pricing, meant to reduce traffic and improve air quality in New York City's Central Business District, is expected to start this summer. School bus contractors will be exempt if they hold contracts with the city's Department of Education.  -  Source: Canva

Congestion pricing, meant to reduce traffic and improve air quality in New York City's Central Business District, is expected to start this summer. School bus contractors will be exempt if they hold contracts with the city's Department of Education.

Source: Canva

This summer, heavy vehicles trying to enter Manhattan at 61st Street and below are expected to face congestion prices between $24 and $36. But this week, school transportation contractors learned their buses are exempt from the new policy.

Most vehicles granted exemptions by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) are government vehicles, including school buses owned by providers that hold contracts with the New York City Department of Education.

“It is a win for the school bus industry to have yellow school buses exempt from the MTA congestion pricing,” said Thomas W. Smith, president of the New York School Bus Contractors Association. “School buses reduce congestion while transporting students to and from school and are the safest form of transportation. We thank the MTA and the Traffic Mobility Review Board for listening to our recommendation and providing an exemption for school buses.”

Corey J. Muirhead, executive vice president of Logan Bus Co., shared that sentiment: “We are very pleased. School buses inherently promote mass transit, taking 36 passenger cars off the road. The school bus starts the education process, and it made no sense for us to be subject to congestion pricing when in fact we are a contributing factor to limiting congestion.”

A final vote on congestion pricing is expected March 27. Tolling could start June 15. However, the pricing plan also faces some legal challenges that could at least delay it.

About the author
Wes Platt

Wes Platt

Executive Editor

Wes Platt joined Bobit in 2021 as executive editor of School Bus Fleet Magazine. He writes and edits content about student transportation, school bus manufacturers and equipment, legislative issues, maintenance, fleet contracting, and school transportation technology - from classic yellow diesel buses to the latest EPA-funded electric, propane, and CNG vehicles.

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