Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Severn Bridge toll charges.

On the 1st January 2007 the Severn Bridge toll charges have increased by 4%. These are the toll charges payable by drivers using the M4 and M48 motorways coming into South Wales from England. These toll charges have increased for car drivers from £4.90 to £5.10 and coach/lorry drivers from £14.70 to £15.30 - an increase of 4%.

How can Severn River Crossing PLC justify these increases? It is scandalous and an abuse of a their monopoly. There is no other way for drivers to get into South Wales from the M4 and M48 motorways. Their costs cannot have risen 4% and any extra traffic brings enormous profits into the company without incurring additional running costs.

When I bought my home I took out a mortgage. OK, I bought a house and not a bridge but both just sit there in all weathers. My mortgage company does not increase my repayments by 4% because it is a new year. If my mortgage provider increased my repayments by 4% just because the calendar changed, I and most other borrowers would change their mortgage provider. My home has remained the same and so have the Severn Bridges.

These increases in toll charges are a disgrace and are not justified. It is simple profiteering and greed by a company that can exploit it's position on our road network. The costs of operating the bridges have not increased by 4% but the company is more than happy to bank the extra cash. Shame on the Severn River Crossing PLC.

I also notice that the speed camera van is in it's usual position before the M4 toll booths but it's fines will remain at £60 a go with no increase in their punishments.
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