DRBA Finalizes Bridge Toll Increase, Introduces New Ferry Rate Schedule


New Castle, Del. – Today, the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Commission approved a revised version of the Delaware Memorial Bridge toll schedule at the bi-state agency’s monthly meeting. The toll increase is expected to generate about $32 million in additional annual revenue to fund the agency’s five year $399 million Capital Improvement Program.

This modified proposal includes the following changes to the original one passed in December:

· EZ-Pass discount for passenger car/small truck “home agency” users (NJ EZ-Pass or DelDOT account holders) of 25 cents off the $5 toll rate.

· Frequent Traveler discount rate increases from $1.25 to $1.75. On 1/1/2021, the rate increases to $2.25. Frequent Traveler program is 20 trips in 90 calendar days.

· Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Five Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is amended from $423M to $399M.

· Implementation date deferred for two months from March 1 to May 1, 2019.

Toll Rate Schedule


Passenger Car, Small Truck (Current Toll)$4.00 (New Toll) $5.00

Passenger Car, Small Truck (E-ZPass)1 N/A $4.75

Passenger Car w/ 1 Axle Trailer (Current Toll) $6.00  (New Toll)$7.50

Passenger Car w/ 2 Axle Trailer (Current Toll) $8.00 (New Toll) $10.00

Passenger Car w/ 3 Axle Trailer (Current Toll) $10.00  (New Toll)$12.50

Passenger Cars Discount Traffic

Commuters (22 trips in 30 days) (Current Toll) $1.00  (New Toll)$1.25

Frequent Travelers (Current Toll) $1.25 (New Toll) $1.75

Commercial Vehicles

2 Axle, 6 Tire Vehicle (Current Toll) $10.00  (New Toll)$12.00

3 Axle Vehicle (Current Toll) $15.00  (New Toll)$21.00

4 Axle Vehicle (Current Toll) $20.00  (New Toll)$28.00

5 Axle Vehicle (Current Toll) $25.00  (New Toll)$35.00

6 Axle Vehicle (Current Toll) $30.00  (New Toll)$42.00

1 Available to N.J. E-ZPass and Delaware E-ZPass service center account holders only.

This revised toll schedule sets the rate for passenger cars and small trucks at $5.00 while commercial vehicles will pay $2.00 more per axle. The agency’s discount programs, commuter and frequent traveler, will also be adjusted for just the second time in more than 30 years. The last general toll increase took place on July 1, 2011. Approximately 36 million vehicles annually travel across the Twin Spans.

One of the changes was the adoption of a preferred rate for New Jersey E-ZPass and Delaware E-ZPass service center account holders. “E-ZPass saves customers’ time, reduces auto emissions and enhances fuel efficiency,” said Executive Director Tom Cook. “We believe that establishing a preferred rate for the home agencies here will encourage Delaware Memorial Bridge customers who pay with cash to sign up for the program.”

Two of the three adjustments made to the original toll rate proposal passed late last year remain in this revised proposal: a reduction in the two –axle commercial class rate, which includes most RVs and dual tire pick-up trucks, from $7 an axle to $6 and a change in the number of trips required for the commuter rate. The number of trips in a 30 day period for the commuter plan decreases from 25 to 22.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge, which spans the Delaware River and connects two of the most heavily trafficked highway corridors in the Northeast, is the bi-state agency’s critical tolling asset and generates 75% of its operating revenue and 100% of net revenues.

The following are some of the major capital projects planned at Delaware Memorial Bridge and Cape May – Lewes Ferry during the next several years: Bridge Paint Removal and Recoating ($48.2); Suspension Rope Replacement ($24.5 million); Bridge Steelwork Repairs ($40.5 million); Pin and Link Rehabilitation on Both Structures of DMB ($19.7 million); Ship Collision Protection System ($45.2 million); Bridge Deck Repair ($21.5 million); Transfer Bridge Repairs at the Cape May – Lewes Ferry ($4.3 million); and Ferry Repowering Program ($9.5 million).

The DRBA Commissioners also unanimously approved a new fare schedule for the Cape May – Lewes Ferry at its monthly meeting held in the James Julian Boardroom at the Authority’s Administrative Complex in New Castle, Delaware. Effective April 1, 2019, the new ferry rate schedule is designed to improve farebox recovery and offer additional discounts to encourage frequent customers, recognize first responders, and decrease the cost of travel for families.

With the adoption of Resolution 19-03, the Commissioners approved the following:

– Modest fare increase of $1 in all vehicle classes in-season (April-October). No increase in the “Return Trip” value fare.

– Creation of a new fare category for 3-wheel motorcycles or Motorcycles with Trailers

– Implement passenger discounts for First Responders on a trial basis

– Eliminate fare for children ages 6-13 during the off-season (November-March).

“While reducing the operating deficit is a goal with any new fare schedule, we hope to encourage more people to use the service through some discount fares, and by making the ferry more affordable for families, especially those with older children,” said Heath Gehrke, Director of Ferry Operations. “Whether it’s visiting relatives over the winter holidays or getting away for long weekend, a family of four with two children can use the Ferry at a cost savings of nearly 20% during the November through March time period.”

In-season from April – October, all vehicle fare class increase $1. Return trip value fares remain unchanged, an almost 18% discount on the one-way fare. Passenger fares did not increase and have not done so since 2009. With the exception of discounts, off-season rates were not affected.

Gehrke added that a new “Blue and Red” discount for first responders is available to all police, fire and EMS personnel. Like the military discount, the customer must show a valid form of I.D. to receive $2 off the adult passenger rate. “We value our first responders and wanted to implement a special discount,” Gehrke said. “Like with any discount program, we will evaluate the impact of this promotional fare on traffic and make recommendations to the Commissioners at the end of the trial period on whether to continue the program.”

The Cape May – Lewes Ferry fare rates were last adjusted in 2016. Those fare changes included a nominal increase of $2.00 in-season and $1.00 off-season applied across all vehicle classes; a new return trip discount fare for longer vehicles and a new 25 trip passenger pass for $150.

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