Bridge and ferry tolls set to rise by 20p
COMMUTERS from South East Cornwall could face a 13 per cent increase in the cost of using the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry.
Both Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council have backed a draft business plan set out by the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee, which includes an increase of 20p on the current charge of £1.50.
The increased rate looks set to come into force in April 2014.
Councillor Mike Pearn, joint chairman of the joint committee, said: "The way things are going it will have to increase in 2014. The draft plan has been passed by Plymouth Council and Cornwall Council."
Mr Pearn added: "We have to go through the process. Nothing is concrete at the moment."
The joint committee will meet in March to make its final proposals.
Mr Pearn said: "None of us are happy, really, but it's got to be done and the majority of people realise that. The traffic is going down a bit but we have got to keep the expenditure up."
"They've got to be maintained and they cost a lot of money," he added.
South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray has opposed the rise, saying the committee needs to make savings before passing on the cost to customers.
She said she will write to Transport Minister Simon Burns asking for clearer reasons to justify the charge.
A group of residents from Saltash is calling for different rates for the bridge and ferry.
The Tamar crossings Action Group (TAG Team) say that people using the bridge should not subsidise the cost of operating the ferry.
Saltash resident Steve Miller, who is leading the campaign, said: "Maybe the number of crossings could be reduced, or alternatively, if ferry users want a Rolls-Royce service to continue, perhaps they should pay more towards it. It's currently paid for 18 hours a day by the tolls of the bridge users and this proportion is gradually increasing."
Mr Pearn said there is nothing in the pipeline to suggest a variation in cost for the different services at the moment.