The Government has decided to make a formal Order authorising an increase in tolls on both the Tamar Bridge and the Torpoint Ferry. This is the first time in nine years that the tolls have been increased and the decision will ensure the sustainable future of both crossings. In the letter advising the decision, the Department for Transport confirmed that the Secretary of State accepted that the proposed increases are necessary and proportionate.
Operated together as a single business, the two crossings are jointly owned by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council and carry more than 18 million vehicles a year across the River Tamar.
Toll prices have not risen since 2010 and, as a result of inflation, increasing maintenance costs and the funding of a range of improvement projects, the crossings have been running at a loss for nearly two years, eating into our very limited reserves. The crossings are entirely self-financed through the tolls charged and this means that the crossings would not have been sustainable without the additional income from an increase in tolls.
We applied for the increase in March 2019 and in early August we gave evidence to a public inquiry into our application. The independent Inspector supported the application and the Government has now made the formal order to increase the tolls. The Inspector’s report is available here Inspectors Report – Toll Revision 2019.
The increase means that the car toll charge for TamarTag customers (which represent 60% of all crossings) rises from 75p to £1.00. For those paying by cash the toll will rise from £1.50 to £2.00.
The 33% increase in tolls – equating to an extra £1.25 a week for a regular TamarTag user – will address the shortfall in income and provide funding to carry out further essential works on both the bridge and the ferries over the next few years.
We have kept the increase as low as possible while still ensuring the quality and sustainability of the service into the future. Even with the increase the crossings are still amongst the cheapest self-financed tolled crossings in the UK.
The increases will be implemented with effect from Tuesday, 19 November 2019.