Miffed about the latest toll hikes? There’s relief – for some. New Jersey drivers may be able to take advantage of a few different discounts at toll plazas on the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike.
If you’re over 65, drive a hybrid or pull a trailer, you could shave a little off all or most tolls, though it usually depends on when you're driving. Read on for details, and visit the Turnpike Authority’s discounts webpage for application forms.
- Senior citizen discount. Those 65 and older can get 10 percent off tolls on the Parkway and Turnpike during off-peak hours (peak hours are 7 to 9 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday, so this discount doesn’t apply during those times). Seniors must have a valid driver’s license, a car registered in their name or their spouse’s name and must show proof of age.
- Green pass discount. If you drive a car that gets 45 miles per gallon or better gas mileage or meets the California Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) standard – that’s most hybrid cars – you’re eligible for a 10 percent discount on off-peak rates on the Parkway and Turnpike. Successful applicants will be issued a special green tag. The total value is capped at $250,000 per year (though that would be a lot of time spent on the road). This discount expires Nov. 30, 2013, so you have less than two years to take advantage of it.
- Off-peak Turnpike discount. This one’s simple. If you have an EZ Pass and are traveling on the Turnpike during off-peak hours, you automatically get a discount – no need to apply. It varies depending on the toll.
- Garden State Parkway trailer discount. This discount is offered to a number of classes of vehicles – see the “class definitions” section on the discounts page – including cars and light trucks pulling trailers. The discount applies during peak and off-peak hours. Only individuals may apply; businesses and corporations aren’t eligible.
Details on truck and bus discounts are also available.
Turnpike Authority spokesman Tom Feeney said the senior discount and green discount have been around since 2008, but remain underutilized. The rate of enrollment for the green pass in particular is “very low,” he said.
Those interested in the programs can apply online, Feeney said, or call 732-442-8600, ext. 2100.