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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 September 2006, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Bridge brings in new toll system
The new tolls collection plaza on the Forth Road Bridge
Drivers will be able to pay the toll using a credit card from next year
A new system for gathering tolls and traffic management has been introduced on the Forth Road Bridge.

Modern tollbooths costing 4m have been built a few metres from the old ones, which will now be removed.

However, the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta) said the investment would not make journeys over the bridge any quicker.

A spokesman said it would make managing traffic flows and toll collection easier.

Feta said the new system would also include improved safety and security arrangements.

The new system will provide sophisticated tools for managing the flow of traffic onto the bridge and will make the collection of tolls more efficient, hopefully improving the bridge user's experience
Lawrence Marshall
Feta convener

About 24m vehicles cross the bridge each year.

Only northbound drivers currently pay tolls. The methods of payment are limited to cash and pre-paid voucher.

Feta convener Lawrence Marshall said: "The new system will not make journeys over the bridge any faster as the bridge has a maximum capacity of 3,500 vehicles per hour, already achievable with the old system.

"Increasing the tolling throughput cannot improve on that figure - it's like sand in an hour glass.

"However, the new system will provide sophisticated tools for managing the flow of traffic onto the bridge and will make the collection of tolls more efficient, hopefully improving the bridge user's experience."

Trials of electronic tolling will start soon and payment by credit card is expected to be possible some time next year.

John McGoldrick, co-ordinator of the National Alliance Against Tolls Scotland, questioned the move to install the new barriers.

He said: "This multi-million pound tolls plaza has been built despite the overwhelming calls for an end to the tolls and despite objections from the residents of the Stoneyflatts estate overlooking the new tolls plaza.

"It all shows that the latest review of the tolls by the Scottish Executive is just another mock exercise."


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