Ferry company asks again for toll increase

Following the rejection in 2018 of the controversial plan to increase the Sandbanks Ferry toll, the operating company is now proposing a new price increase.

The Sandbanks Ferry Company has just made an application to the Secretary of State for Transport to increase the Maximum Tolls Chargeable amounts and for future annual increases to rise, up to the rate of inflation.

5 per cent to 5.56 per cent increase

The proposed cash tolls, or single trip ticket prices are, according to the company, between a 5 per cent to 5.56 per cent increase on the last approved Maximum Tolls Chargeable amounts agreed in February 2015.

This means that the single trip price for a car would rise from £4.50 to about £4.75. The company says this represents an increase of less than half the rate of inflation since that point in time. The previous controversial application, that was rejected following a public enquiry and angry protests from passengers, proposed an increase to £6 for a car.

The company is also applying for all future single trip toll increases to be capped annually at the rate of inflation. This could see the tolls increasing every year at the rate of inflation, which is currently 1.8 per cent.

Books of tickets

The application also proposes freezing the price of the books of tickets at the current level until at least 2021. These tickets, that are mostly bought by local residents are available to buy in multiples between 10 and 50. It’s proposed that their price remains unchanged until it reaches 26%-30% less than single trip tickets.

However, many local residents, anticipating future toll increases, stocked up on books of tickets last October 2019, when the company offered a special promotional rate of a 48 per cent discount on the full ticket price, following the suspension of the service over the summer.

Managing Director of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, Mike Kean said:

“We have held detailed discussions over the past 12 months with local residents, councillors and MPs and have incorporated their feedback into the application proposals. These include increasing the discounts applied to bulk purchase of tickets and pledging not to pay dividends until the Ferry Replacement Fund is at the required level in any given year. We are incredibly grateful for their time and input.

“Toll increases are a necessary part of the mix in ensuring that our vital service to local businesses, residents and tourists is maintained long into the future, and we look forward to the application progressing over the coming months.”

It’s not yet known when the proposed toll, if approved, could come into effect. The Department for Transport and the Ferry Company will publish further details of the application consultation in due course.

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