On Friday, 2 October the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee are launching a consultation exercise on proposals to address the financial shortfall caused by the impact of Covid 19 on the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry.
Between them the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry carry around 18 million vehicles a year (16 million on the bridge and 2 million on the ferries), with the two crossings recognised as uniquely important to the economy of the region.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, traffic levels at both crossings have been significantly below the level anticipated late last year when the original budgets were set. The relatively short period when tolls were suspended was responsible for less than one-quarter of the income lost this year. With the organisation’s reserves now depleted, Tamar Crossings is facing a significant financial deficit which, without intervention, will continue to grow.
Tamar Crossings receive no subsidy from either Central Government or the owners of the two crossings – Plymouth City Council and Cornwall Council – with toll income used to operate, maintain and improve the bridge and ferries.
With both authorities already facing significant and pressing demands on their finances, and, as yet, no formal offer of the financial support that has been sought from the Government, the only current viable option to secure the future of the crossings is to reduce the pre-payment (TamarTag) discount and increase cash tolls.
The aim of the consultation is to provide information to users and key stakeholders on the Joint Committee’s finances, and to seek views on both the immediate proposals and the future structure of charges. The Joint Committee are seeking more information on how travel patterns may alter as a result of the pandemic to inform forecasts.
Leaflets and questionnaires will be issued to users of both crossings on October 2 and 3. This will be carried out by hand, e-mail or post depending on method of payment – TamarTag users at the Bridge will be identified from their tag identification and subsequently contacted so they will not need to stop at booths to collect paper copies.
The wider public can access the background information and questionnaire by telephoning 01752 361577 or by collecting a copy from the offices at the Bridge or Ferry.
The consultation will run until 3 November 2020 following which the information gathered will be analysed and presented to members of the Joint Committee at their meeting in December.