The For-hire Vehicle (FHV) and Taxi industries will see their portion of the NYC traffic mitigation plan go into effect on January 1, 2019. FHVs and Taxis will be mandated to pay the following surcharges: Rides conducted by FHVs (including Black Cars, Luxury Limousines and Livery vehicles) will be subject to a $2.75 per trip surcharge; Taxicabs and Street Hail Liveries (SHLs) operating as a “hail” vehicle will be subject to a $2.50 per trip surcharge (on top of the current $0.50 MTA surcharge they already pay); and “Pool Vehicles” will be subject to a $0.75 per person surcharge. A “pool” vehicle is any FHV available for hire by two or more passengers, or groups of passengers, each separately requesting the service.
The “congestion zone” specified by the law is the entire geographic area of Manhattan south of (and excluding) 96th Street. Taxicabs and FHVs that pick-up, drop-off or travel through Manhattan below 96th Street will be subject to the congestion surcharge fees. If a vehicle travels through the congestion zone at any point, the ride is subject to the surcharge (including the entirety of the FDR Drive below 96th Street).
The only exception is interstate trips. The surcharge is only applicable to trips that both start and end in New York state. If a trip begins or ends in any state other than New York, the surcharge does not apply.
Base and medallion owners subject to the congestion zone surcharges must register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and pay a $1.50 registration fee. Base and/or medallion owners will be required to file a return and remit payment to the New York State Taxation Department for the total amount of surcharges owed each month. When submitting returns, you will need to list the number of trips/passengers subject to the surcharge, along with “service type” indicated.
Under the recently passed law, the surcharge is to be passed along to passengers, and should be listed separately on any receipt that the passenger receives. The fees collected will go towards funding MTA infrastructure projects.
Currently, there is no definitive answer on how collection of the surcharge will be enforced, although E-ZPass is being considered. Although the fees are being called “congestion pricing,” politicians have admitted that charging FHVs and Taxis will not affect traffic in any discernable way. It is simply being called a “first step,” aimed at funding the MTA. Down the line, fees are expected to be expanded to all vehicles entering the “congestion zone,” including personal ones.