TransLink ponders lower Golden Ears tolls

VICTORIA — Lowering prices to increase demand? To think, that novel idea came from a government agency!

In a bid to boost traffic on the Golden Ears Bridge in B.C., TransLink is considering lowering tolls and "marketing" the bridge to lure truckers.

BC Trucking Association CEO Paul Landry suspects the toll rates — up to $9.40 a trip — are likely steering some truckers to the Port Mann or other crossings.

According to the Vancouver Sun, about 22,300 vehicles cross the bridge daily, compared to the 29,400 vehicles the agency projected would use the crossing in 2004.

That translates to about nearly $6 million below expected revenue.

TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said the agency is putting together a plan that could include lower tolls for truckers and non-commuters during select hours of the day.

"We’ve flagged it as an issue but the specific measures we would take would come after careful analysis," said Hardie.

TransLink blames the economic downturn and more transit riders as two reasons for the reduced traffic.

However, Hardie said things are starting to look up. Traffic was up nearly 84,000 vehicles in April from the low of 605,000 last November.

Landry says there’s no question lower tolls would help entice truckers to use the bridge more often.

Better marketing to the trucking industry is also in the cards. 

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