Tamar bridge and ferry tolls could increase

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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.



  • Profile image for TarmacJunkie

    The ferry toll pays for less than 20% of its costs ! The other 80%+ comes from bridge tolls, which are consequently DOUBLE what they could otherwise be.

    It runs at only 1/3 of capacity, which means the bridge income is subsidising a 2/3 EMPTY service ! The first thing to investigate is how to reduce overall expenses, and as the ferry is responsible the majority of costs, it would seem the obvious place to start !

    By TarmacJunkie at 22:25 on 28/12/12

  • Profile image for Poverdc

    As stated, bridge usage is mostly local traffic. The tag system was introduced to reduce the number of manned booths (cash payments) and increase traffic flow.

    We now find that most booths are still manned and we have an Office full of staff managing the Tag system. Additionally, I have noticed the levels of staff seem to have increased over the years. Manpower is the most expensive part of the operation. If you add in pension reserves, these costs become enormous. It's like having the Labour Party running the bridge. Moreover, the Tag Office is only open during the working week when most people are at work, not very convenient is it? Furthermore, local people were told the toll charge increase was temporary to assist in paying for the widening of the bridge and would be reduced at a later date - like that was ever going to happen.

    It now seems that we have paid for new ferries at enormous expense.

    There must be a far cheaper way of operating the Tag system. Perhaps by selling top up cards in local shops, much like topping up your mobile phone.

    It is time for discussions to take place on a viable alternative to the Torpoint Ferry i.e. tunnel or bridge. If the government reject these proposals then they need to inject funds for the ferry operation.

    By Poverdc at 09:08 on 17/08/12

  • Profile image for esotericage3

    With the possibility of tolls being put on British motorways as a way of gaining more revenue, this seems like not only a convenient revenue stream to raise the Tamar toll charge, but maybe a way to put people off using their cars. Just the inconvenience of having to avoid the Tamar bridge will add to the cost of the fuel and time lost trying to avoid the bridge at all £costs£.

    By esotericage3 at 23:31 on 31/01/12

  • Profile image for EddieBawden

    As Clive says, the bridge folk are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Why the drop in bridge use? Its because they increased the toll prices not so long ago. Putting them up again will really make people want to use the bridge... yep.. great marketing plan boys.

    By EddieBawden at 21:34 on 31/01/12

  • Profile image for Clive_Stevens

    People are trying to avoid the bridge due to the cost of using it, so they want to increase the cost, yeah right that will work.

    Are they paying someone to come up with ideas like that, maybe that is somewhere they can save money.

    By Clive_Stevens at 13:37 on 31/01/12

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