Henry Hudson Bridge tolls to go cashless in Nov.

The Henry Hudson Bridge connects the Spuyten Duyvil

The Henry Hudson Bridge connects the Spuyten Duyvil section of The Bronx with the northern end of Manhattan to the south. This past spring, the MTA eliminated its cash lanes from the toll plaza, making it one of the first urban all-electronic tolling bridges in the nation. (Oct. 8, 2012) (Credit: Faye Murman)

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Drivers traveling from Westchester County to Manhattan soon will be able to leave the cash at home the next time they cross the Henry Hudson Bridge.

Starting Nov. 10, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is introducing cashless, unmanned tolling on the Bronx-to-Manhattan crossing, the agency announced Monday. Motorists can either pay with their E-ZPasses or their license plates will be photographed and a bill will be mailed to the registered driver.

"It's good for the MTA because it's the most efficient way to collect tolls, good for drivers because it provides for seamless travel and good for the environment because it reduces vehicle emissions," Jim Ferrara, MTA Bridges and Tunnels president, said in a written statement Monday.

The 34 MTA Bridges and Tunnels officers stationed at the bridge toll plaza will be transferred to vacancies at other crossings, said MTA spokeswoman Judie Glave.

"No one is losing their job," Glave wrote in an email.

The price to cross the span remains the same: $2.20 for those with E-ZPass, $4 for those without.

The program will give drivers who are billed by mail up to 30 days to pay the toll via the Internet, mail, E-ZPass walk-in center or select retail stores. If no payment is received in that time, a second notice will be sent and a $5 late fee will be tacked on.

Drivers who do not pay after another 30 days will face an additional $50 violation fee. If no payment is received within 15 more days, the case will be turned over to collection, MTA officials said.

Despite the additional follow-up required under the initiative, Glave said the MTA expects that the program will prove to be a savings in terms of labor, maintenance and "capital program costs for toll booth rehabilitation and upkeep."

Henry Hudson Bridge -- which averages 65,000 daily vehicles -- is the first of the MTA's seven bridges and two tunnels to go cashless. The bridge was chosen as the pilot program because it has a high volume of E-ZPass vehicles, does not allow trucks and has no exit ramps near the toll plaza, according to the MTA.

The agency intends to give cashless tolling on the Henry Hudson Bridge a one-year trial before determining whether the program will continue and whether it should be rolled out to other crossings, MTA officials said.

The SR 520 Bridge over Lake Washington in Seattle was the first major commuter bridge in the United States to implement the all-electronic payment system. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority recently announced plans to implement a similar all-electronic toll system for the Garden State Parkway sometime next year.

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