For instance George Washington Bridge commuters can save $6 a vehicle by using the “carpooling” lane. If you are using that bridge every day for getting to and from work you could save almost $200 a month if you use the carpool lane. With this much money on the line it is no wonder drivers are looking for hitchhikers.
The problem is that hitchhiking on city or state roadways is illegal, not to mention dangerous. Those standing or walking along the roadway not only risk a fine from police but they are also endangering their lives. Cars travel fast along these roadways and people standing along the road way are in danger of being struck by passing cars.
There is also danger in picking up a perfect stranger and giving them a ride. It wouldn’t be a difficult thing for one of these people to attempt to commandeer your vehicle; try to car jack, rob or threaten you in some way, making the idea of saving a few bucks seem much less valuable.
There is another problem related to city finances. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, George Washington Bridge’s toll booths bring in $625 million for the city. It is estimated that people who cheat the system with hitchhikers cost the city $7 million. That is a big chunk of change for a city which is often cash strapped. plus, the toll money is used for road and bridge improvements, so cutting into this fund will result in a reduced ability to make improvements as needed.
But as long as hitchhikers are around and drivers can save a few bucks it seems likely this situation will continue.