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What to know about E-ZPass and Congestion Relief Zone tolling

Updated Jun 10, 2024
Before Congestion Relief Zone tolling goes into effect, take these steps to ensure you're properly tolled.

The Central Business District Tolling Program is temporarily paused pending necessary approvals.

The Congestion Relief Zone will launch at a later date. Check back for updates.

Starting on June 30, 2024, vehicles will be tolled to enter the Congestion Relief Zone—local streets and avenues in Manhattan below and including 60 St. The toll amount will depend on the type of vehicle, time of day, whether any crossing credits apply, and the method of payment. Read about toll rates here.

E-ZPass is the best way to pay the Congestion Relief Zone toll. If you already have an E-ZPass account, make sure your current license plate is on your account to ensure you receive the E-ZPass toll rate and any applicable crossing credits, discounts, or exemptions. If you don't have an E-ZPass account, now is the time to sign up. 

Read on for more information. 

1. Make sure your E-ZPass account is up to date.

If you plan on driving into the Congestion Relief Zone, make sure your current license plate is linked to your E-ZPass account or else you will be charged the more expensive Tolls by Mail rate. A current license plate also ensures you get any applicable crossing credits, discounts, or exemptions. Detection points will identify the license plate of every vehicle entering the zone. If that vehicle is equipped with an E-ZPass that is linked to the vehicle’s license plate, the E-ZPass will be charged.

If your E-ZPass account does not have your vehicle’s current license plate, the system will send a Tolls By Mail bill to the registered owner of the vehicle. Tolls by Mail rates are up to 50% higher than E-ZPass—so make sure your E-ZPass account is up to date. You can check on the E-ZPass website.

If you have an out-of-state E-ZPass account and it's linked to your vehicle's license plate, you will be charged the E-ZPass rate when driving into the Congestion Relief Zone.

If you don’t have an E-ZPass, it’s free and easy to sign up. Plus, the MTA no longer requires a $10 deposit for E-ZPass accounts without a linked credit card. Learn more about signing up for E-ZPass.

2. Know your options for paying tolls with E-ZPass.

There are three ways to pay your tolls using E-ZPass: 

Automatic replenishment: Your E-ZPass account will be linked to a credit card, debit card, or bank account that will automatically be replenished whenever the balance gets too low. Your monthly replenishment amount is based on your travel history.

Pay Per Trip: Instead of charging your credit card to maintain a minimum balance on your E-ZPass at all times, Pay Per Trip lets you pay only for the tolls you use by linking your E-ZPass directly to your bank checking account. This option is available whether you're a new or existing E-ZPass account holder. Learn more about Pay Per Trip.

Pay with cash: E-ZPass uses the VanillaDirect retailer network to process cash payments. Visit the VanillaDirect Locator to see a retail location near you where you can make a payment. Once you've found a retailer that accepts cash payments, provide the barcode found on the E-ZPass statement. Be sure to retain the receipt for your records. 

3. An E-ZPass New York account is required to apply for any discount or exemption plans.

A Congestion Relief Zone discount plan is available for low-income drivers, and exemption plans are available for individuals with disabilities or organizations transporting people with disabilities, emergency vehicles, buses, and specialized government-owned vehicles. Applicants must have an E-ZPass New York account to get any discounts or exemptions. You can apply for an E-ZPass New York account as part of your application. Read more about discount and exemption plans.