In March 2019 the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee formally submitted an application to the Department for Transport to increase tolls on the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry for the first time in nine years, to ensure the sustainable future of the crossings. As part of this statutory process a public notice setting out the key features of the proposal has now been published in the local printed media. A copy of the full Application can be found here:
A copy of the Public Notice is available here:
Toll prices on the bridge and the ferry, which are jointly owned by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council, have not risen since 2010 and the service is already running at a loss.
Operated together as a single business, the crossings receive no financial subsidy from either of the two councils or from Central Government. This means that unlike some other estuarial crossings in other parts of the country, the service is entirely self-financed through the tolls charged which pay for the operation, maintenance and improvement of both crossings.
As a result of inflation, increasing maintenance costs and the funding of a range of improvement projects, expenditure is now exceeding toll income and the service is already running at a loss – without additional income the service will therefore not be sustainable.
Under the terms of the Tamar Bridge Act, any changes to tolls must be approved by the Secretary of State for Transport before they can be implemented. Under the proposals, which were supported by both Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council, people using the electronic pre-paid TamarTag (which represent 60% of our crossings) would see the car toll rise from 75p to £1.00. The toll would rise from £1.50 to £2 for a cash crossing for a car, and other toll charges would see the same 33% increase.
“We recognise that any toll increase is unwelcome and the Joint Committee has deferred increasing toll charges for as long as possible” said General Manager David List. “However, with the service now operating at a deficit, and with ever-increasing maintenance costs, it is not possible to keep operating, maintaining and improving the bridge and ferries without this extra income.”
“We have tried to keep the increase as low as possible while still ensuring the quality and sustainability of the service into the future and even with the increase both crossings would still remain amongst the cheapest self-financed tolled crossings in the UK. “
Following today’s publication of the proposal, anyone with a substantial interest may object to the proposal by writing to the Secretary of State for Transport within 42 days. The detailed toll revision application will be available for inspection at both the Tamar Bridge Office and the Torpoint Ferry Office during normal working hours.