Tamar bridge and ferry tolls could increase
By Western Morning News | Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 08:00
Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry tolls could rise because of a fall in the number of people crossing the river.
Traffic has dropped by five per cent in this financial year, and the bridge authority is monitoring the flow to see whether it shows a trend before deciding on any rise.
The bridge over the River Tamar between Saltash and Plymouth is controlled by local councils jointly, but any toll increase has to be approved by the Secretary of State for Transport.
Councillor Martin Leaves, joint chairman of the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry committee, said: "I think the five per cent fall in traffic could be due to the economy, or perhaps people being more environmentally friendly and not making so many trips.
"People might be making fewer trips to work, or they might be shopping locally instead of coming over the bridge into Plymouth. I also wonder whether more people are using the A30."
The ferry company has more than £2 million in its reserves, but if traffic continues to be light that will fall to £381,000 by 2015/16.
Mr Leaves said the operation needed a £2 million reserve in case of emergencies.
He said that a rise in the toll was unlikely to be needed before 2014/15 but the committee needed to prepare now because of the requirement of Government approval.
The standard fare for a Cornwall-to-Devon trip is £1.50, though car drivers who pay by an electronic tag get a reduced rate of 75p.
Changing this reduced rate does not require approval from the Secretary of State.
Councillors backed an amendment by councillor Kevin Wigens that any proposed increase should be brought back to Plymouth City Council for approval.
The first in a series of workshops, discussing any changes, takes place next month.