Sunday, August 21, 2005

Toward a theory of tolls

Recently observed:

Bronx to Queens, by Whitestone Bridge: $4.50
New Jersey to Manhattan, by any tunnel or bridge: $6
Brooklyn to Staten Island, by Verrazano Narrows Bridge: $9

I'm glad that I don't believe that prices express intrinsic value. But can anyone explain the last one? Seriously?

Oh, and by the way:

NYC to NJ, by any tunnel or bridge: Priceless.

3 Comments:

Blogger Christopher said...

I've wondered about this as well, although EZ-Pass makes it easy to miss. My only guess is that the Verrazano has higher maintenance needs and costs because it is longer than the others.

8/22/2005 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

It's interesting to imagine, although I don't think it's true, that it has something to do with the wealth differences between the boroughs. I.E., keeping the other half (either wealthier or poorer if the fare works both ways) out. It looks this way superficially, a bit.

Clicking around to try to find something scientific to back this up led me to this very interesting report:

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ssw/projects/surcent/Publications/SIS%20Working%20Papers/Wealth%209-4-02.pdf

If you compare the median net worths (which the paper cites as their favorite point of reference), you do in fact see that this fits the pattern for the Brooklyn - Staten Island fare being the larger (the Bronx - Staten Island by this theory would be even greater, if it made any geographic sense to connect them directly!).

I don't think this pretend theory holds true for all incidences of fare differences in New York, but, I think it "explains" the VN one, which was bothering you the most. With some tweaking, it might actually be able to "explain" all of them, too.

8/22/2005 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Madeleine said...

I always found it interesting that the bridges between NJ and PA had it set up that we paid to get out of NJ but traveling from PA to NJ didn't require a payment.

I wonder if there's some message here.

9/02/2005 8:45 PM  

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