The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) this week announced the implementation dates for a limited final stage of changes authorized under a 2021 toll adjustment process.
The impending changes apply only to E-ZPass transactions involving Class 1 vehicles, which are motorcycles, cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs with up to two axles and less than eight feet high.
The implementation dates and times for the toll schedule changes are as follows:
- January 1, 2024 – The Commission’s 21-year-old frequency-based commuter discount program will expire. This program currently provides a 20-percent discount. The discount gets applied retroactively as a credit on Commission-affiliated E-ZPass accounts for 16 or more trips across DRJTBC toll bridges in a calendar month. The program was started in late 2002 to incentivize E-ZPass use. The discount originally was set at 40-percent but was reduced to 20-percent in 2021 as the first part of a three-year phase-out process. The program’s last applicable month will be December 2023.
- January 7, 2024 – The E-ZPass toll rate for Class 1 vehicles will increase 25 cents to a $1.50 toll instead of the current $1.25 rate.
- January 7, 2024 – Because of the 25-cent personal vehicle toll increase, the rate for a Class 1 vehicle with a bumper-hitch trailer or vehicle in tow will increase to a $3.50 toll from the current $3.25 rate. (Note: Per-axle commercial/truck rates [$4.50 or $5 per axle] apply for Class 1 vehicles with gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailers in tow. Those rates remain unchanged.)
All other Commission toll classifications and rates remain unchanged. This includes the current $3 Cash/TOLL BY PLATE rate for Class 1 passenger vehicles; on Jan. 7, this rate will be double that of the new comparable E-ZPass rate. (Note: The Commission’s Scudder Falls (I-295) Toll Bridge is the only location with TOLL BY PLATE service.)
The 2024 toll rate schedule may be found on the Commission’s website at www.drjtbc.org/newtolls. The new rates were formally approved March 29, 2021.
The 2024 rates were part of a new two-tier toll-pricing policy intended to offset revenue declines triggered by the 2020-21 COVID-19 pandemic, ensure payment of long-term financial obligations, and provide sufficient funding for planned capital projects.
The two-tier toll pricing structure applies lower rates to E-ZPass transactions and higher rates to Cash or TOLL BY PLATE transactions. Two-tier pricing is the prevailing trend among toll agencies nationally because it helps cover the increased processing costs associated with Cash or license-plate-billing collection methods. This pricing strategy also inherently incentivizes motorists to use E-ZPass for paying toll transactions.
In September 2023, E-ZPass was used in roughly 89 percent of toll transactions at the Commission’s eight toll bridges: Milford-Montague (Route 206), Delaware Water Gap (I-80), Portland-Columbia (Routes 611, 46 and 94), Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22), I-78, New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202), Scudder Falls (I-295) and Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1).
The DRJTBC classifies motor vehicles strictly by number of rolling axles and height. Tolls are assessed in the Pennsylvania-bound direction at all Commission tolling points.
In addition to its eight highway toll bridges, the Commission owns and operates 12 non-revenue-generating “toll-supported” bridges along the fresh-water portion of the Delaware River separating New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The agency also has 73 lane miles of road surface, 34 short-distance approach bridges (overpasses or viaducts) and various other maintenance and operational facilities.
The Commission is funded strictly by the tolls it collects at its eight toll bridges. It does not receive state or federal subsidies to run its transportation system and services. The Commission is unique among other toll agencies in the region because it is legally obligated – under identical statutes enacted by both states and ratified by Congress under the Compact clause of the U.S. Constitution — to use a share of its tolls to operate and maintain 10 older low-capacity non-highway vehicular bridges and two other pedestrian-only crossings along the river. The Commission refers to these 12 spans as “toll-supported bridges.”
The system-wide $1.50 Class 1 personal vehicle E-ZPass rate for 2024 remains the lowest of any tolled Delaware River crossing. Meanwhile, the DRJTBC’s continuing commercial vehicle rates maintain the agency’s competitive edge for movements of overland freight across the river Pennsylvania-bound.