New Yorkers react to congestion pricing in NYS budget

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan — No one wants to pay more to take a Uber, Lyft or yellow taxi in the busiest parts of Manhattan, but that’s what will be happening starting January 2019.

“Oh no, no I don’t like the idea,” Hannah Sher, an Uber rider, told PIX11. “I always take taxis.”

It’s part of the new $163.3 billion state budget deal. Albany lawmakers agreed to the first congestion surcharge on black cars and yellow taxis below 96th street. It will cost an extra $2.50 for taxis, 2.75 for uber, Lyft or other for hire cars and an extra 75 cents for ride shares.

It’s not exactly what congestion pricing advocates wanted, but it’s a start, according to Gridlock Sam, also known as Sam Schwartz.

“I’m hoping we’ll see it next year. Courage wanes in an election year. We don’t have full congestion pricing charge yet, but maybe they’ll regain courage in an off year,” Schwartz said.

Officials expect this first phase of congestion pricing will generate about $421 million a year, all going to the MTA but the New York Taxi Workers Alliance says it will devastate their workforce and industry.

“This is unfair,” Javaid Tariq, co-founder N.Y. Taxi Workers Alliance told PIX11. “Taxi members haven’t gotten a raise since 2012.”

In the ongoing feud between Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo, the budget includes a provision to make sure the city doesn’t divert MTA funds to other purposes.

“This budget appears to respond to the mayor¹s demands on behalf of the city¹s straphangers," the mayor said in a statement. "There are no excuses left for the Governor to hide behind. He must do his job and fix the subways.”

And some Upper West Siders want congestion pricing to go further.

“It’s worked in other cities. People always freak out with change," ” Susan Meyer said.