Toll By Plate Goes Into Service On New Hope-Lambertville Toll Bridge

The bridge will be cashless in the coming months.

The New Hope-Lambertville Toll Bridge plaza.
Credit: Google Maps

If you’re crossing the New Hope-Lambertville Toll Bridge, you can now pay using Toll By Plate.

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s span over the Delaware River began accepting Toll By Plate, which is in addition to E-ZPass and cash.

By June, the New Hope-Lambertville Toll Bridge will exclusively be handled by E-ZPass and Toll By Plate transactions as the commission is working toward going entirely cashless by 2025.

The system captures a vehicle’s license plate for billing purposes.

The Toll By Plate car toll will be $3, equal to the current cash rate. In comparison, E-ZPass users will pay $1.50 in 2024.

As is the case at all commission toll bridges, toll transactions take place only in the Pennsylvania-bound direction.

The move to cashless follows a trend in electronic toll collections usage on the commission’s spans, which accounts for 89 percent of the commission’s transactions, officials said.

The commission currently employs 370 staff, down from 400 in 2019, and ceased hiring full-time toll collectors in early 2020.

More information from the commission:

TOLL BY PLATE Billing Option Process

The introduction of the TOLL BY PLATE payment option at the New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202) Toll Bridge will enable non-E-ZPass-equipped motorists to pay tolls if they do not pay cash at a toll booth. Currently, a motorist is issued a violation notice when he or she travels through a tolling point in this manner.     

Once TOLL BY PLATE is implemented at the bridge’s toll plaza, a motorist without E-ZPass and who does not pay cash will have his or her vehicle license plate image captured by an overhead camera.

Payment can be mailed, or the billed individual can go online to pay with a credit card through the New Jersey E-ZPass website. Individuals wishing to pay their toll bill by cash currently have limited options: they can either travel to the New Jersey E-ZPass Customer Service Center’s walk-in centers in Newark, N.J., Camden, N.J. and New Castle, DE.  Those addresses are available at this webpage:

If payment is not received by the bill’s prescribed deadline (usually 30 days of issuance), a second bill gets generated with an additional $5 toll bill late fee.

Failure to pay this second billing on time will result in the TOLL BY PLATE bill being escalated to a toll violation.  The $5 toll bill late fee will be waived, a $30 administration fee will be assessed for each overdue toll transaction, and a violation notice will be mailed to the vehicle owner.

Should the new escalated amount owed remain unpaid by the first violation notice’s payment deadline, a second violation notice will be sent.  If the amount owed is not paid by the second violation notice’s payment deadline, the violation will be advanced to a collection agency.

Next Bridges to Get TOLL BY PLATE

Tomorrow’s activation of TOLL BY PLATE at the New Hope-Lambertville Toll (Route 202) Bridge will allow that river crossing to serve as a week-long testing site for introducing the third-payment option at the Commission’s remaining E-ZPass/cash tolling points next week.

If the New Hope-Lambertville Toll Bridge’s TOLL BY PLATE activation goes smoothly, the plan is to expand the payment option to the Commission’s six remaining toll bridges at approximately 9 a.m. on January 24.  These bridges are Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1); I-78; Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 202); Portland-Columbia (Routes 611, 46, and 94); Delaware Water Gap (I-80); and Milford-Montague (Route 206).

Like New Hope-Lambertville, these locations have “barrier” toll plazas where E-ZPass is accepted in all lanes and where toll collectors in designated booths accept cash and make change. Two bridges – I-78 and Delaware Water Gap (I-80) – also have adjoining Express E-ZPass gantries where E-ZPass-equipped motorists can pay tolls while moving at highway speeds.

Next Steps Toward Cashless All-Electronic Tolling

The introduction of TOLL BY PLATE payments at the Commission’s conventional E-ZPass/cash tolling points is a first step in a larger plan to convert the Commission’s entire network to highway-speed cashless all-electronic toll collections.  Currently, only the Commission’s new Scudder Falls (I-295) Toll Bridge has a cashless toll collection system with TOLL BY PLATE service for non-E-ZPass customers.

After a roughly five-month introduction of system-wide TOLL BY PLATE billing, the Commission’s toll-collection conversion process will advance to a second phase called “AET in-place.” This is expected to occur in June 2024, when the agency’s three lowest-volume toll bridges – New Hope-Lambertville, Portland-Columbia, and Milford-Montague — will cease cash collections and handle solely all-electronic E-ZPass and TOLL BY PLATE transactions. A firm date for this conversion is to be announced in the spring.

Cashless AET collections are projected to be implemented in January 2025 at the Commission’s four remaining higher-volume toll bridges: Trenton-Morrisville, I-78, Easton-Phillipsburg, and Delaware Water Gap. A firm date for this conversion won’t be determined until late 2024.

A third “hard conversion phase” would then follow. This would involve removal of existing barrier toll plazas and the design and construction of highway-speed all-electronic tolling gantries at each of these locations. The design work of this “hard-conversion” process is expected to begin in 2024 and the first bridge to be outfitted with a cashless gantry would be the New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202) Toll Bridge sometime in 2025.

The current plan calls for hard conversions to be carried out at each of the Commission’s older toll bridges one at a time in each subsequent year, a process currently projected to be completed no later than 2032.

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