Tolls and Toll Regulation
Under the Whitchurch Bridge Act 1792 and the Whitchurch Bridge Act 1988, the Whitchurch Bridge Company is empowered to collect Tolls to finance its operations. The Company’s Tolls are regulated under the Transport Charges etc (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1954. Tolls may only be increased when permission has been applied for by the Company by means of a Toll Application, and approval given by the Secretary of State for Transport in the form of a Department for Transport Toll Order. The current Tolls were implemented on Monday 26th October 2009 in accordance with Toll Order No. 2729 dated 12th October 2009.
Comcessioary Tolls are offered at the discretion of the Company and are not regulated.
Toll Application - Public Inquiry
The Public Inquiry into the Company's Toll Application will commence at 1000 hrs on Tuesday 19th May 2015 at The George Hotel, The Square, Pangbourne RG8 7AJ. The Inspector will be Mr M Moore BA(Hons) MRTPI CMILT MCIHT.
Toll Application - Public Inquiry(updated 23rd April 2015)
We will give more details of how the Public Inquiry will be conducted and how objectors may participate as soon as we know.
Toll Application - Background to the Public Inquiry (updated 23rd April 2015)
The cost of reconstructing Whitchurch Bridge was significantly higher than expected, and because of this the Company needs to increase the regulated Class 1 Toll from 40p to 60p. It therefore submitted a Toll Application dated 5th November 2014 to the Secretary of State for Transport. A 42-day public consultation period started on Friday 21st November 2014 with Public Notices in the Henley Standard, Newbury News and Get Reading, and finished on Friday 2nd January 2015. The Department for Transport (DfT) received 24 objections, and on 29th January 2015 informed the Company that it will be asking the Planning Inspectorate – part of the Department for Communities and Local Government – to arrange a Public Inquiry at which the Company and the objectors can put forward their respective cases to an independent Inspector.
On 2nd April 2015 Julian Smith at the DfT clarified the process for submitting evidence as follows:
"All objectors evidence/correspondence sent to Julian Smith at the Department for Transport will be forwarded on to the Inspector for his consideration. Julian Smith will also be informing the Inspector of those who wish to attend and those who wish to speak at the Inquiry. Please note all correspondence/evidence for the Inspector’s consideration must be sent to Julian Smith (at the above address) by Monday 20th April 2015. There are no restrictions on who wishes to attend the public inquiry and who wishes to give oral evidence. But note the Inspector will be in charge of the Inquiry on the day and it will be for him to decide who will be called to give oral evidence."
Details of the Public Inquiry are above.
The DfT normally receives the Inspector’s Report
within 2 months of the Public Inquiry.
This Report, with an accompanying submission from civil servants, is
then put to DfT Ministers for a decision (note that this will be after the
General Election). If the Toll
Application is approved a Toll Order is prepared by DfT civil servants,
approved by Government lawyers, registered with the National Archives at Kew and then
sent to the Company.
The Company must receive this Toll Order before it
can increase the Tolls. Based on
our experience when we last applied for a Toll increase in 2008 we are not
expecting any increase in Tolls to be approved before September 2015.
John Howell (former MP) and the Company independently explored the possibility of a Flood Relief Grant: eligibilty issues are still being looked at but such grants normally avergae £2,500 so will have no effect on the Toll Application.
We regret that a Toll increase is necessary. Bridge users can be assured that the Secretary of State will only approve the increase if he/she believes it to be justified on the facts.
Tolls may be collected at any time, but are normally collected only from 7am until 9pm on weekdays, 8am to 8pm on Saturdays, and 9am to 8pm on Sundays (all timings may vary by a few minutes). Tolls are collected at the Toll Booth at the Whitchurch-on-Thames (north) end of the Bridge.
Tolls may be paid in cash, or through one of the Company's concessionary prepayment systems which offer substantial discounts to Bridge users based on Bridge Cards (for vehicles not exceeding 3.5 tonnes mgw) and books of prepaid tickets (for vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes mgw).
Details of the Toll payment systems are shown below. Click here for FAQ's.
|Class 1||Vehicles not exceeding 3.5 tonnes mgw||40p|
|Class 2||Vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes mgw||£3|
There is no charge for pedestrians, cycles or motorcycles. There is an environmental weight limit of 7.5 tonnes mgw on the Bridge.
(updated 23rd April 2015 - Bridge Card Pack cost)
Concessionary rates and discounts are unregulated and the Company is under no obligation to offer concessionary rates, discounts or free crossings to any users. However, the Company has given an Undertaking that the concessionary Toll for users of Bridge Cards will not exceed 30p unless and until another Toll Application is approved.
1 users (ie vehicles not exceeding 3.5 tonnes mgw)
Concessionary Tolls are offered through Bridge Cards, which pay a discounted Toll rate of 29.4p (ie 34 crossings for £10). The Company also offers a Frequent User Scheme which allows unlimted crossings for £26 per month.
Details of the Concessionary Tolls for Class 1 users are as follows:
Initial Purchase of a Bridge Card Pack (at the Toll Booth)
Includes £10 (returnable) deposit for your Bridge Card, plus £20 credit for crossings at the discounted rate applicable at the time of purchase. At the current discounted rate of 29.4p, £20 gives you 68 crossings.
Bridge Card Top-up (at the Toll Booth)
Adds £10 credit to your Bridge Card Account for crossings at the discounted rate applicable at the time of purchase. At the current discounted rate of 29.4p, £10 gives you 34 crossings. You may top-up only when your "uses remaining" is 50 or less, and only do one top-up at a time. You will always be given a receipt, which we ask that you check.
Frequent User Scheme
Allows unlimited use of your Bridge Card. Monthly payments must be made by bankers standing order. Click here for details and an Application Form.
B. Class 2 users (ie vehicles
exceeding 3.5 tonnes mgw)
A concessionary Toll of £2 is available to Class 2 users through the purchase of books of 20 prepaid tickets for £40 from the Toll Collector.
Free crossings for Disabled Drivers
(updated 8th April 2015)
The Company allows free crossings for disabled persons who are in receipt of the High Rate of the Mobility Component of the DLA, Enhanced Rate of PIP, or War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement, whose vehicles are registered in the Disabled Class. Disabled persons need to pre-register with the Company using the Disabled Driver Registration Form which may be downloaded here or obtained on request from the Toll Collectors.
The Company reserves the right to restrict this concession to disabled persons with a local address who need to use the Bridge on a regular basis.
Free crossings for Emergency Vehicles
The Company allows free crossings for liveried fire appliances, police vehicles and ambulances. Any liveried ambulance with "ambulance" signage will be allowed a free crossing, including non-emergency ambulances.
Free crossings are also allowed for Community Responders wearing their yellow ambulance jackets in a vehicle displaying a "Community Responder attending 999 Call" sign.
Click here for FAQ's.