The new Port Mann Bridge (right) opens in December with eight of 10 lanes operational. The final two lanes can't be used until the old bridge is dismantled.

Golden Ears, Port Mann bridges merge tolling systems

Same decal for Golden Ears and new Port Mann Bridge

If you use the Golden Ears Bridge, you’ll probably use the new Port Mann Bridge, so you might as well join the crowd, register, save a bundle and make life simpler.

Then come December, you can rip out that old plastic TransLink transponder from 2010, get your $10-deposit back, and use the free TReO plastic decal, good for both bridges.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said Wednesday, when it made its announcement about toll charges for the new Port Mann, that users of both bridges can use the same decal. All motorists have to do is go to treo.ca and register and the decal they’ll receive is good to go for both bridges.

By registering before Nov. 30, motorists will pay only $1.50 per crossing of the Port Mann Bridge for the entire year, plus get $30 credit that’s good for 20 crossings for passenger vehicles.

If they don’t want the $30, motorists still have until Feb. 28 to register and get their free decal and get the $1.50 rate for the entire year, half the ongoing rate of $3 per crossing.

Drivers who don’t register before March will pay the full tolls ($3 for standard vehicles), which are set to kick in for all users in December of 2013.

Once motorists have their decals, they can turn in their transponders to the Quickpass office on 12167 Harris Rd. in Pitt Meadows and have their $10 deposit returned.

The bills that will arrive in the mail will show which bridge you used and when. Under the TReO system, tolls will be deducted automatically from motorists’ bank accounts or credit cards, speeding up the payment system.

Don’t expect any break on the Golden Ears Bridge, however.

The tolls ($2.95 with a transponder, $4.20 without) will stay as they are.

“It wouldn’t make any economic sense,” to change the Golden Ears Bridge tolls, TransLink spokesman Drew Snider said Thursday.

With billing for bridges soon to be integrated, the transponders for Golden Ears will remain “… at this time, we are keeping the Quickpass operation in place.”

Snider pointed out that Golden Ears Bridge traffic has increased, after lagging behind projections the first three years, following its opening in July 2009. Golden Ears was also free for the first month, he added.

“We’ve seen a constant increase in traffic over the bridge. This year’s usage is up more than 11 per cent from last year’s – and revenue is up by $1.6 million, so it’s ahead of the budget forecast for this year,” Snider said.

He attributed that increase to an ad campaign that TransLink’s run since January, pointing out to commuters that it’s cheaper to pay the toll rather than drive around. Once the new Port Mann Bridge opens in December, the free option through Port Coquitlam and over the Pitt River Bridge disappears.

“The [Golden Ears] bridge wouldn’t be there without those tolls,” said Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton.

He added that the new Port Mann will save motorists an hour a day in travel time.

He also said Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents will benefit from the entire reconstruction project along Hwy. 1 from Langley to Vancouver.

Heavy trucks won’t get any introductory break on the previously announced $9 tolls for the Port Mann, but they will pay half price if they cross at night between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Lighter trucks or cars pulling trailers will pay $4.50 in the introductory period, instead of $6, and they’ll be offered a $225 unlimited monthly pass.

Motorcyclists will pay $1 at first instead of $1.50 and have the option of a $50 monthly pass.

During the first week after the official opening in December, the Port Mann Bridge will be free for everyone, Transportation Minister Mary Polak announced Thursday.

She was at a ceremony recognizing the 10-lane bridge as the widest in the world at 65 metres, earning it a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The $3.3-billion infrastructure project is the largest in B.C. history.

NDP transportation critic Harry Bains, who favoured lowering or eliminating the tolls in the first year since motorists wouldn’t yet have access to the whole bridge, nevertheless called it a “desperate attempt” by the government to shore up votes ahead of the provincial election.

– with files from Jeff Nagel

 

Just Posted

ePlanes will fly out of Pitt Meadows

Harbour Air will take a year or two to convert entire fleet to electric

Ridge chamber announces finalists for best-in-business awards

Winners will be announced at annual gala in February.

Four ‘neglected’ dogs surrendered to SPCA by Maple Ridge backyard breeder

Shepherd-breed dogs were living in ‘deplorable conditions.’

Wires down along 112th Avenue in Maple Ridge

There are 244 customers without power in the area

Ridge RCMP arrest man who tried to escape on skateboard

Dustin William Randall Evans, 30, was wanted on outstanding warrants.

Fashion Fridays: A masterclass on H&M knitwear

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Haney junior boys win Carney basketball tourney

Maple Ridge team beats Abbotsford Christian 53-49 in the final

Sawatsky undefeated in post-season play

Dominant effort in Haney Masters Curling

‘British Columbians are paying too much’: Eby directs ICBC to delay rate application

Attorney General David Eby calls for delay in order to see how two reforms play out

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Couple who bought $120k banana duct-taped to wall say artwork will be ‘iconic’

Pair compared it to Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans,’ which was initially ‘met with mockery’

Race to replace Andrew Scheer could be a crowded one

Many familiar faces, such as Maxime Bernier, Jason Kenney, Doug Ford and Kevin O’Leary, have said no

National cold case hunters take on search for missing man last seen in B.C.

Kristofer Couture’s car was found at Chilliwack trailhead in January but there’s been no sign since

Most Read