In Feb., tolls up, traffic down on Turnpike, Parkway

WOODBRIDGE – Traffic was down on the N.J. Turnpike and Garden State Parkway but revenues were up in February when compared to February 2011, according to the Turnpike Authority.

Much of the reason for this is attributed to the 50 percent toll hikes on the Parkway and 53 percent increase in tolls on the Turnpike.

The total revenues for January and February were $236.7 million, an amount that surpassed initial projections by $4.7 million, the authority said.

Total traffic decreased 4.3 percent, with passenger traffic down 4.0 percent and commercial traffic down 6.3 percent.

It was less than the 5 percent drop  in the total traffic rate the Turnpike consultants had been forecasting.

A spokesman for the authority, Tom Feeney, called the slippage not surprising.

“Traffic always goes down after a toll increase,” he said.

The number of toll transactions on both roads actually slipped 4.2 percent, with 4.3 percent on the Turnpike and 4.1 percent on the Parkway. 

Feeney said the traffic decrease cannot be fully attributed to the higher tolls.

“Gas prices were 42 cents a gallon higher in February than they were a year ago, and high gas prices always drive down traffic, too,” Feeney said.

In order to have an apples-to-apples comparison, the Authority didn’t include the bad weather days from last February. Much of this past February consisted of mild weather.

  In Feb., tolls up, traffic down on Turnpike, Parkway