Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Cornwall and Devon river crossing toll rise enforced

Tamar Bridge: Pic Chris Hayward
The last tolls increase was in 1994

An increase in bridge and ferry tolls enabling drivers to cross between Devon and Cornwall has come into force - with car drivers having to pay a 50% rise.

The increase in costs to use the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint ferries was approved by the government following a public inquiry in January.

Car drivers now have to pay £1.50 - and regular users with a Tamar Tag are charged 75p instead of 50p.

The rises are the first since 1994 and also affect goods vehicles and coaches.

The crossings are jointly run by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council through the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee.

'Whacking increase'

The committee has said in the past that a rise was "essential" because without it the gap between income and spending was expected to be £2.5m a year by 2011-12, as the routine costs of maintaining the crossings had increased.

It also said that it recognised a price increase was "particularly unwelcome" but that a rise had been deferred "for as long as possible".

However, John McGoldrick, of the National Alliance Against Tolls, said he was disappointed that the toll increases were approved and then enforced with such speed.

"Bridge users will be shocked that this whacking increase in tolls has been implemented so quickly," he said.

"Those who realise that the cost of building the bridge was paid off many years ago, and that the tolls are now used to subsidise the losses on the ferry, will also feel that there is no justice in this system.

"It is long past the time that the bridge tolls were removed and traffic allowed to flow freely."

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