They Get You Coming and Going

They Get You Coming and Going

There are basically five major highways in and out of Boston: The Southeast Expressway from the south, the Mass. Turnpike from the west, Route 93 from the northwest, the Harbor Tunnels from the east, and Route 1/Mystic Tobin Bridge from the north. Of those, three have tolls on them: the Pike, the Tobin, the Tunnels.

Years ago, the Tobin had tolls coming south and going north, but eventually the northbound tolls were dismantled in order to make at least one of the two daily commutes less hellish. But to compensate, they doubled the southbound tolls, of course.

Flash forward several decades and the tolls are coming back.

A spokesman with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) said crews installed the infrastructure for all-electronic tolling on June 2. The equipment is now visible as drivers enter the Tobin Bridge in the northbound direction.

Except they didn’t bother to tell anyone. There’s a reason for that. Commuters from north of Boston have complained for years that they bear the brunt of tolls because there are no good options for getting in the city with paying a toll whereas drivers from south of the city have never had a toll. So every time the topic comes up, politicians north of the city have a field day. I suppose someone at the Transportation Dept decided it would be better to ask forgiveness than permission.

But, you may say, the total tolls aren’t changing! Whereas the single southbound toll was $2.50, now it will be $1.25 each way.

Yeah, and if you believe that it will stay that way for long, I have a bridge in Boston to sell you.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli