STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 ON 1st JANUARY 2018
- TOLL CUTS SAVE DRIVERS £300 A YEAR-
- Weekday commuters who drive over the Severn Crossing will save £286 a year on average(1) from 8th January 2018(2) –
This January will mark an event which drivers in Wales, the South West and West Midlands have long been waiting for – a price slash for the Severn Crossing tolls – which will save commuters who use the bridge on weekdays almost £300 on average.
After years of inflated prices, the Severn Bridge Crossings will now only cost £5.60 for cars to travel between England and Wales. Up until now, the two bridges have cost weekday commuters a whopping £1,742 to get from England to Wales on average(5), but this will drop by £286 from the 8th January to £1,456, saving them a few extra pounds over the year. But it is larger vehicles which will see the biggest savings, with HGVs weighing over 3,500kgs saving a whopping £858.
The two bridges, connecting England to Wales via the M48 and M4 sees 25 million vehicles(4) a year and has pocketed £167.5m in the last year alone, but will become free for drivers from 2019(2). And when this day comes the Severn Crossings could see a large surge in traffic, as drivers won’t be digging deep into their pockets for pay for the privilege. In fact, more than one in seven (14%) would consider moving home or getting a job across the border when the tolls are reduced or scrapped.
As it stands, the average driver in Wales uses the bridges six times a year, while those in the South West go over and back just five times in 12 months. Drivers in the West Midlands use them the least at just four times a year. In fact, almost one in 10 (9%) motorists admit they take a longer detour to avoid paying the current bridge tolls. But one in seven (14%) say they will use the bridges more once the tolls are reduced.
The rising cost of the tolls has created a divide between Wales and the western English regions for many years, requiring them to fork out every time they cross from England over the Welsh border. But drivers aren’t just concerned about saving money. Almost a fifth (17%) of drivers in Wales, the South West and West Midlands believe the Severn Crossing has been damaging to the local economy. However, more than two fifths (42%) think that this will boost once the tolls have been scrapped, with the government expecting it to boost the economy in South Wales by £100m a year(6).
But until then, drivers will no doubt be thankful for the small dip in prices, which will put a few extra pennies back in their pockets.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “The two Severn Crossings have been money-making machines for many years, but from January they will be going the opposite way! Drivers who commute over the bridges every day will save almost £300 over the year, which is a step towards reducing their motoring costs.
“Lowering the price of the bridge tolls could provide a boost for the local economy, and it is also a huge win for drivers in the surrounding regions. The cost of motoring is on the up, with car insurance expected to be the most expensive on record in 2018, and fuel price increases week on week. But the toll cut is a positive step forward in making it more affordable for drivers.”
Notes to editors
Unless otherwise stated all statistics were obtained from a survey to 500 motorists in Wales, West Midlands and the South West. The survey ran between 19th December and 21st December 2017.
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