On Saturday the long awaited Mersey Gateway Bridge opened to the public allowing everyone to easily travel between Runcorn and Widnes. I welcome this new transport link, it has long been needed and I am sure it will help reduce journey times for many everyone living and working on different sides of the bridge.
This means it is all the more disappointing that this new bridge is tolled and costs £2 to cross the bridge if you are not previously registered or £90 a month for an unlimited pass. That adds up to £1080 a year if you purchase a monthly pass and much, much more if you pay per journey. In addition to this, work to repair and refurbish the Jubilee Bridge will soon begin. When the work is complete this bridge will also be tolled. This means that every bridge and tunnel leading to Merseyside will have a toll.
These tolls represent huge costs that many local residents cannot afford. There are many people who need to cross these bridges every day to travel to work. I fear that these news tolls will put a strain on anyone that is already struggling to make ends meet and will make working unsustainable for anyone on low wages.
I have already heard from workers including teachers and nurses who say that these tolls feel like a pay cut. They have to cross a bridge every day to get to work, they have no other option, it is simply not fair to ask them to pay to make a journey that they having been making for free for many years. I fear that people living on both sides of the bridge will be put off making this journey reducing opportunities for workers and making business harder for local businesses.
I am calling on the government to review the Mersey Gateway tolls make crossing the bridges free for residents of South Liverpool and other Merseyside residents who live near to these bridges. Please sign my petition calling for bridge tolls to be scrapped.