Tolls for Golden Ears Bridge going up

The increases are scheduled annually to keep up with the cost of living.

Tolls for the Golden Ears Bridge are going up July 15.

Tolls for the Golden Ears Bridge are going up July 15.

Tolls for the Golden Ears Bridge, reduced last year to encourage more usage, are now set to rise.

On July 15, tolls for cars with transponders go up a nickel, while for cars without transponders go up a dime.

The increases are scheduled annually to keep up with the cost of living, and raises the one-way charge for a transponder-equipped vehicle to $2.95.

Tolls for vehicles without transponders go from $4.10 to $4.20.

When it comes to numbers, however, TransLink is probably more focused on whether the number of trips across the bridge is meeting projections.

Money raised by the tolls in 2011 jumped by 14 per cent compared to the year before, to $33.7 million,  according to TransLink’s Drew Snider.

However, that’s still 11 per cent below projections for that year.

Snider added that last year, there were just fewer than 10 million crossings of the Golden Ears Bridge, also a jump of about 12 per cent.

“The awareness plan that we had has definitely helped getting people on to the bridge,” Snider said Friday.

That campaign involved advertising and placing door hangars on residences near the bridge.

And over the 35-year payback period of the public-private partnership, the bridge will pay for itself, said Snider.

TransLink last year also tried giving fare discounts for evening and weekend use of the bridge, but that didn’t bring in any extra dollars.

Usage of the Golden Ears Bridge, completed in 2009 and joining Langley and Surrey to Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, could increase after this year, once the Port Mann Bridge opens. That structure will also be tolled.

In the first three months of this year alone, 2.4 million crossings took place, which is also up 12 per cent compared to the same period last year.

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