When driving up or down the Eastern seaboard GPS and navigation apps all seem route me through New York City, leaving me to deal with the exorbitant bridge tolls. My most recent trip cost me over $50 in tolls, mostly because the GPS insisted on sending me into, then out of, NYC. Seeing as how the high tolls are presumably meant to deter city traffic, you'd think there would be a way for drivers to opt out of driving through the city. But of course, asking Google Maps or Waze to avoid tolls gives me the completely toll-free route, which adds many unnecessary hours to my trip by avoiding every toll along the way. So, my question is: how can I avoid or minimize the NYC tolls if I just want to go past New York and not enter it?

  • 8
    decide how far out from NYC you might want to detour from and to, and set your start/end points there. Then navigate to those points using tolls on, then switch it around NYC, then switch it back again
    – Midavalo
    Sep 30, 2020 at 1:01
  • 4
    What’s your specific route?
    – Hilmar
    Sep 30, 2020 at 1:42
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    @Midavalo that looks like a (good) answer to me
    – AakashM
    Sep 30, 2020 at 9:36
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    Shame Wazes does not know the cost of all tolls and provide a way for you to say how much your time is worth. Sep 30, 2020 at 10:11
  • 2
    Depends on how more fuel you will consume. With European hefty prices on fuels, maybe what you save on toll is burned in gasoline. Oct 1, 2020 at 14:25

4 Answers 4


You have to cross the Hudson River somewhere, so its bridges are natural choke points. The three closest to, but not entering, New York City are:

The bridges further north would likely be too far out of your way (the next is the Mid-Hudson bridge, 75 miles north of NYC). So you can try your route with your favorite online route planner, adding each of these three bridges successively as intermediate stops, and see which route looks best.

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    Of these the Tappan Zee is probably the best compromise on, say, a hypothetical trip from Boston to Washington - the further north you cross, the more extra mileage you add. The Tappan Zee may be a better choice than going through NYC even in the westbound (toll-free) direction, due to traffic. Sep 30, 2020 at 21:04
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    An additional note: Pretty much all of the bridges and tunnels around NYC will give you a discount if you have an EZ-Pass (except the small number that are free anyway, like the Queensboro Bridge). In most cases it's only a few dollars, but it can add up if you go through that area frequently.
    – Kevin
    Sep 30, 2020 at 22:42

It's simpler than you might think.

Look at the map (with tolls removed), decide which roads you do not want to travel on and use an alternative route.

A quick check of the geography shows that alternative bridges are a ways upriver, the I84 doesn't add that much time.

  • Rolled back to the edit @MarkMayo did as the other version is seen as 'not nice'. And that version may well get deleted.
    – Willeke
    Oct 11, 2020 at 7:21

Nate has rightly pointed out the three bridge options for minimizing the toll expenses while traveling through NYC. Among them, the most economical would be Tappan Zee Bridge.

Say you travel between Silver Spring, MD and Amherst, MA regularly. The usual route is to take I95 through George Washington Bridge which costs around $40 in tolls whereas if you take I78 and pass through Tappan Zee Bridge, you'll save 30 bucks straight.

However, Google Maps is not good at suggesting routes like this to minimize tolls but there are plethora of trip planner apps/websites (just Google;). You can try tollguru; have heard it is popular among New Yorkers. It shows alternate routes with varying toll charges. I calculated the above costs there only.


I agree with Andrew. I travel between Olney, MD and Hanover, NH. It's simple. I put my address, with destination as Hanover, NH and then I put Tappan Zee Bridge as a "stop" and that's it. It will avoid all the NYC stuff. Much easier drive too.

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