The verdant wilds of bucolic Staten Island will soon be just a card-swipe away.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on July 28 that drivers will soon be able to use credit or debit cards to pay the $15 fare to cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
But the measure is more about safety than service, and commuters are still supposed to pony up greenbacks if they have them, a spokeswoman said.
“It’s for people who don’t have enough cash,” said the Authority’s Judie Glave, adding that E-ZPass users with insufficient funds can also use the service, but they’ll have to pay the full fare rather than the reduced E-ZPass rate of $10.66.
Previously, drivers short on cash or with low E-ZPass balances had to pull over so toll workers could take down their tag number and send them a bill, but that proved hazardous for the staff, Glave said. There have not been any serious incidents recently, but Glave said toll workers occasionally get clipped by passing motorists.
Giving drivers more options for how to pay will also reduce congestion on the bridge, because drivers will no longer have to pull to the side, she said.
The transit agency began accepting plastic from commercial drivers in October 2013 and other motorists should get the privilege within weeks, she said.
The bridge’s upper level will be closed between 9 pm and 5–6 am from Aug. 4–Aug. 20 so the Authority install new sign supports and signs. The Brooklyn-bound upper level will reopen at 5 am to accommodate rush hour traffic, and the Staten Island-bound upper level will reopen at 6 am, according to a press release from the Authority.