The Money Pit

Taxi, PATH, tunnel, bridge and electricity costs are about to increase across the board.

Joe Concha

Looking to take a cab home from the PATH on a cold, rainy day in March so you can back to your comfortable PSE&G powered home?

Well, expect to shell out more money on all fronts…

Thanks to a measure approved by the so-called new and improved Hoboken City Council, cab fares will go up from $4.00 to $5.00. The measure also legalizes the custom of cabbies taking more than one fare at a time (sometimes four), calls on more green taxis (environmentally friendly) that get at least 25 miles per gallon, and adds seven medallions to Hoboken’s current fleet of 58.

Don’t worry, he’ll find a seat next to you on the PATH   As for the PATH, on March 2nd the fare will jump from $1.50 to $1.75 for the luxury of having annoying iPods playing loudly and/or somehow having a guy who looks like he’s in his third trimester curiously go out of his way just to sit (and immediately proceed to expand his legs) next to little ‘ol you.

For those nine of you who drive into the city for work, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, as well as the George Washington Bridge, will see a hike from $6.00 to $8.00.

Port Authority officials said the increases were needed to pay for post-Sept. 11 security expenses, bridge repairs and billions of dollars in construction, including a rail tunnel under the Hudson River and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site.

In regards to your electric bill, New Jersey residents will see double-digit increases starting this summer. The rate hikes range from 10 1/2 percent to a whopping 17 percent. Regulators cited the sharply higher prices that utilities must pay to deliver electricity to customers, due primarily to record increases in costs for oil, natural gas and coal.

Getting back to the cab fare 20% increase, it would appear that a seemingly logical winner would be cabbies, right? But since most Hoboken residents currently give a driver $5.00 for a $4.00 ride (for a nice, neat, 20% tip), raising the fare to five bucks may prompt more than a few riders to simply avoid giving a tip out of laziness, a frugal nature and/or simply not having any small bills.

Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez would also like to use all of this wonderful news to welcome the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez to Hoboken’s Hudson Tea Building. With the likes of Governor Corzine and Eli Manning already calling the Tea Building home, A-Rod, wife Cynthia (who’s expecting the couple’s second child in April) and daughter Natasha will certainly have some neighbors in their tax bracket nearby. (FYI: Manning lives here full time and isn’t a “transient”, as erroneously reported by the morally and factually challenged Hoboken411).

And given all of the increases in these cost-of-living-and-commuting-expenses, it appears that Manning ($52 million contract), Corzine ($300 million net worth) and Rodriguez ($270 million contract before incentives) are probably the only three residents of Hoboken who can now actually afford to exist here comfortably.