Trans-Bridge Lines reacts to refusal of exemptions to NYC congestion toll

The motorcoach industry has spent the last four years rebuilding business after the industry effects of the pandemic. Now, Trans-Bridge Lines, a leading motorcoach company of the Lehigh Valley, and its industry colleagues have been dealt another blow. 

Buses will not be exempt from the planned congestion toll to enter New York City’s midtown. Trans-Bridge Lines will be required to pay an extra $24 for its commuter buses and $36 for its charter buses. 

“We simply don’t understand this decision,” said Trans-Bridge Lines President Tom JeBran. “It doesn’t make sense and punishes bus operators who are part of the solution to the congestion problem. The point of the congestion pricing law is that cars will be deterred from entering midtown, which will reduce traffic and pollutants in the air. Buses offer a solution. Not only do modern coaches have technological advances in comfort and safety, they also have clean diesel engines that are non-polluting.” 

Trans-Bridge Lines provides work and recreational transportation to thousands of passengers. The toll, which may begin as early as mid-June, will impact 26 Trans-Bridge Lines weekday runs and 10 weekend runs. In addition, charter service for schools, church groups, sports teams, and businesses would be affected. Affiliate company Trans-Bridge Tours also provides several one-day tours to the city’s attractions. 

Increasing the tolls not only penalizes the transportation industries but could harm established businesses in the city, the Trans-Bridge president said.. 

“We provide daily service for employees who work in all sectors of business, from teachers and first responders to health care and construction workers,” JeBran said. “We have always tried to provide our customers with fair and competitive pricing. Although we have no immediate plans to raise fares due to this increase, the added expense to our company is another burden we will face.” 

A Trans-Bridge bus in Manhattan. (Photo by Jake Oster)

Routes to city since 1982

Since 1982, Trans-Bridge has operated regular route and commuter service to the Port Authority. Over the years, service expanded to include Wall Street, JFK and Newark airports, the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, and Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne.  The company operates without any subsidies and is supported by fares. 

Trans-Bridge Lines and its industry partners argue that they provide an economic and cost-effective method of travel without adding to congestion by taking up to 56 passenger vehicles off the road per bus. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has responded to the bus industry’s pleas for exemptions by stating that private buses contribute to downtown congestion, which is based on findings by its Traffic Mobility Review Board. 

The MTA’s Traffic Mobility Review Board report states that “intercity buses do not serve commuters on a daily basis, although they do provide an efficient, quasi-transit option, especially for people of more moderate means. They should be charged $24. Tour buses don’t serve a quasi-public transit role and should be charged $36 for the disproportionate congestion they cause.”

Public comment still open

Buses have always been recognized as being one of the most fuel-efficient modes of transportation, getting about 195 passenger miles per gallon vs. a passenger car that gets about 25, according to the Comparison of Energy Use and Emissions from Different Transportation Modes Using the Latest Available Datasets, published December 2023 by Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Today’s buses are manufactured with an engine that requires diesel exhaust fluid that breaks down harmful emissions, reducing emissions by 90%. Every bus also has diesel particulate filters designed to capture and store exhaust soot, keeping it from being expelled into the air. 

“Buses traveling into midtown for Broadway shows and other tourist attractions are contributing to the economy of New York,” JeBran continued, “Tourism has a huge impact, bringing in $74 billion to the city in 2023. Buses are key to keeping that momentum going, and imposing these extra tolls is cutting off their nose to spite their face.” 

Trans-Bridge Lines still hopes for a reversal of the MTA’s decision and encourages passengers to share their thoughts on congestion pricing during a public comment period running through March 11. 

Comments may be submitted online at or by email to

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