Could the abolishment of the Severn Bridge toll be the reason why?

 

According to new figures released by Highways England, more people are driving to Wales. Since the tolls were abolished on the M4 Severn crossing, there’s been around a 10% increase of use.

In January 2019, a total of 32,420 motorists travelled across the River Severn, with 35,457 using it in February – this in comparison to 28,897 and 31,866 for the same periods during the previous year.

Before the abolishment in December 2018, commuters had to pay £5.60 to drive into Wales, however crossing into England was free.

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New figures suggest more people are driving into Wales and the abolishment of the Severn Bridge toll could be the reason why. © Copyright Lewis Clarke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

“It looks as though the removal of the tolls has ushered in a new era of Bristol Channel hopping – we’d imagine primarily for leisure and social reasons, with people exploring what South Wales, Bristol and the South West have to offer now that the financial barriers have gone,” said RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis.

The figures suggest that free travel has increased traffic but will it continue and what kind of effect will it have on traffic congestion on roads near the tolls as a result of now free-flowing traffic over the Severn Bridge.

The very first Severn Bridge opened in September 1966 and a toll was put on the bridge to cover the cost of construction. The second Severn crossing was started in April 1992 and opened in June 1996.

“My number one priority as Secretary of State was to remove the tolls, which will not only make journeys cheaper for commuters and tourists, but will also create exciting opportunities for businesses and investors looking to make their mark in Wales,” said Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales in January 2018.

 

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