NYC’s “Flawed” Traffic Plan Brought to You by… Toyota


Grim picture: A screenshot from the CBS Channel 2 web site.

CBS’s Marcia Kramer adds some splatter paint to the Village Voice’s "grim picture of the state of civic engagement" on congestion pricing.

On Tuesday, her Channel 2 special investigative feature let us know that one guy in London has foiled that city’s congestion pricing cameras by using a fake license plate. Headline? "Bloomberg Wants to Bring Flawed London Plan to NYC." Oh, and by the way, 2007 Toyota’s are priced to move!

CBS 2’s award-winning political reporter tells us that "Londoners are now cloning license plates to avoid congestion fees" (note they’re not copying license plates — they’re "cloning" them. Terrifying!) She doesn’t tell us how widespread the practice is, how many people might be doing it or how it may be impacting a system that has reduced traffic congestion by 70,000 vehicles per day and is raising $250 million a year for mass transit (You’d think it would be easy for an award-winning investigative reporter to find this sort of information). Rather, Kramer gives some airtime to Westchester obstructionist Assembly member Richard Brodsky, incorrectly referring to him as "head of the Congestion Mitigation Commission."

After analyzing all of the public testimony delivered during the recent Traffic Mitigation Commission hearings, Environmental Defense’s Neil Giaccobi found that once New Yorkers "get into the details" of what congestion pricing is and how it works "they come around to it." But right now, most New Yorkers "fundamentally don’t understand what congestion pricing is."

Is it any wonder why?

  • david

    Maybe we should stop the development of the 2nd Ave. subway line because some people may try to jump the turnstile.

  • Ah, these misinformation campaigns are just insulting!

  • Jonathan

    Marcia, according to section 511-c of New York’s Vehicle & Traffic Law, driving with someone else’s license plates will get your car seized and you arrested. Great way to beat that congestion charge.

  • Steve

    Aaron, hope you are pursuing a correction/retraction on this one.

  • Mitch

    Presumably manufacturing fake license plates for the purpose of defrauding law enforcement is a crime; if someone is caught doing this, he might earn a chance to make license plates for real…

  • Mitch

    note they’re not copying license plates — they’re “cloning” them. Terrifying!)

    Actually, “cloning” seems to be the word they use in Britain to describe the practice, e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/northeast/series7/car_clones.shtml.
    I would guess that “cloning” is easier in the UK than it would be in NY; in Britain you buy plates from a vendor, and it’s possible to buy them over the Internet as long as you promise not to use them on a public road.

  • NixIllegalPermitAbuse_Then let’s talk

    Hey, there are thousands of xeroxed NYPD parking permits that exist now – it’s pretty easy to spot them, they have no color. How do government sector commuters get away with illegally abusing their permits? The answer is lack of enforcement of existing laws and permit regulations by the Mayor, the DOT and the NYPD – these are the people who are supposed to be enforcing the law! They’re looking out for themselves on NYC’s dime.

    Now you know congestion pricing supposedly does not exempt government employees – I don’t believe this for a second, because these parking permit holders have been “exempt”, albeit illegally, for years. The proposed Congestion pricing no exemptions policy for government employees is a farce, and anyone who believes that ruse deserves to pay for it -I hope NYC doesn’t have to pay for congestion pricing… again.

    NYC loses $46-million/year to these government sector commuters parking on meters, totalling about $300-million in the last 6-7 years. Altogether there are about 150,000 [Transportation Alternatives] parking permits out their. How many of these permits are cloned?

  • JF

    So if we are able to accomplish this enforcement, what are we going to talk about, Nix?

  • Jonathan

    Cops and other civil servants have to pay tolls on bridges, so why wouldn’t they pay a congestion charge? There was a movement a couple years back to give them vouchers, but that didn’t go anywhere.

  • mi

    reminds me vaguely of a recent story published out here a little while ago in Seattle about certain bikes that are more dangerous than others on the road:

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=322254

    misinformation, great tool for swaying the ignorant

  • “Cloning” is the term, it saves you money on congestion -more if you have an extra polluting vehicle- and on speed tickets.

    It is a problem to the extent that now to get a new license plate you need to provide proof of vehicle ownership and identity, to try and stop others getting your plate. But you can work around that if you try, especially if you get a blank and the letters and digits and make the plate yourself.

    One of the problems of cloning is if someone copies your vehicle, you are left trying to prove it’s not you. Whoever rolls out registration-based charging should recognise that cloning is a weakness, and have a better way of dealing with it -such as flagging a specific vehicle as trouble, and when spotted notifying local law enforcement, who can then pull it over and see who is driving it.

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