Commuters and families will benefit with tolls on the new Port Mann Bridge starting at $1.50 for passenger vehicles when tolling begins this December — 50 per cent less than the originally planned toll rate, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mary Polak.
Once completed, the new Port Mann Bridge will eliminate the worst traffic bottleneck in British Columbia, reducing commute times by up to 50 per cent and saving drivers as much as an hour per day to spend with their families. The tolling framework reflects the needs of Lower Mainland commuters by ensuring the convenience of the new bridge is affordable for families while covering construction costs and maintenance in the long term.
Drivers who register for a free windshield decal and tolling account by Feb. 28, 2013 will be guaranteed the half-price introductory toll rate for the first year. As a further incentive to register, drivers who sign up before Nov. 30, 2012 will receive a $30 credit on their account, equivalent to 20 free trips for passenger vehicles.
Registered users will also be eligible for various discounts and incentives, including a 25-per-cent discount during peak hours for HOV users, resulting in a reduced rate of $1.13.
The introductory toll rate, $30 credit and other discounts provide an incentive for drivers to register for a free tolling account.
Registered accounts help Transportation Investment Corporation (TI Corp), the Provincial Crown corporation overseeing the project, to operate a lean, efficient tolling system, reducing the number of invoices mailed and associated administration costs. This keeps operating costs low, which in turn keeps tolls low.
The introductory toll rate also recognizes that while travel times will be significantly reduced in December, construction along the highway will continue through 2013. Construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road, the un-tolled alternative to the Port Mann Bridge, will also continue through 2013. The Perimeter Road will connect to the Pattullo Bridge by December, and will be complete and connected to the Alex Fraser Bridge and Massey Tunnel by late 2013.
Opening the new bridge to traffic in December will complete the first and largest phase of the project, which includes opening eight lanes on the new bridge, widening the highway and rebuilding three interchanges between 160 Street in Surrey and Cape Horn in Coquitlam.
This is the largest transportation project in B.C. history and government is delivering on its commitment to reduce congestion along the province’s busiest transportation corridor. These improvements will remove the traffic bottleneck and eliminate the 14 hours a day of congestion currently plaguing bridge users.
TI Corp Chief Executive Officer Mike Proudfoot introduced the new TReO – Easy, Electronic and Efficient – toll system, the best way to cross the new Port Mann Bridge. TReO will be the public’s point of contact for tolling registration, account management, toll payment, and all customer service needs.
TReO account holders will experience the maximum benefits available to bridge users, including the lowest toll rate, access to all available discounts and easy on-line account management. Drivers who register for a decal by Feb. 28, 2013 will be able to lock in the reduced rate for a full year. Drivers who do not register by Feb. 28, or instead choose the pay-as-you-go option will have their toll rates increase to $3.00 on March 1, 2013.