Build it and they will cross — provided it doesn’t cost them anything.
The first full month without tolls across the eight-year-old Golden Ears Bridge shows a marked increase in traffic volume each day from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1, compared to the same month in 2016.
On Aug. 25, new B.C. Premier John Horgan announced that his NDP government would eliminate bridge tolls effective Sept. 1. He called the tolls “unfair” and said removing them would make life more affordable for many people in the Lower Mainland.
On Friday, Sept. 1, the first day the tolls were taken off the crossing, a total of 53,800 vehicles used the bridge. That marked a 29 per cent increase from the same day in 2016, and a 19 per cent jump from the average prior month volume for the same day of the week.
Every day of the month saw a dramatic jump in traffic volume compared to September 2016, ranging from 16 per cent on Saturday, Sept. 9 to 55 per cent on Labour Day Monday, Sept. 4.
The Port Mann bridge has also seen a marked increase in traffic volume since the elimination of tolls on Sept. 1, with around a million more vehicles crossing in September 2017 than did during the same month in 2016.
Comparing dates in September 2016 to 2017, TransLink stats show single day increases as high as 47 per cent on Saturday, Sept. 16, with no day in the month seeing less than a 21 per cent increase over the same day of the week in 2016.
Most weekdays have seen a jump in the mid 20 percent range while traffic volumes on several weekend days were up by more than 35 per cent.
Port Mann traffic volume stats can be found here.