Traffic lines up at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal during a busy summer traffic season. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Traffic surges on Port Mann after tolls removed

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says ferry fare freeze next spring

The first 10 days of toll-free Port Mann bridge access brought about 300,000 additional crossings, but the surge is being handled so far as traffic flow changes in Metro Vancouver, says Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.

“We’re obviously going to be monitoring how the traffic goes, and talking to the communities about it,” Trevena said Tuesday. “But we’re seeing in early days how the traffic is flowing. These bridges were built for this sort of capacity.”

Monday’s budget update moved the debt of the Port Mann-Trans-Canada expansion project onto the government books to prepare for the loss of toll revenue.

While this key NDP election promise has been kept, there was no move Monday to freeze or reduce B.C. Ferries fares.

Trevena said Tuesday the NDP government will carry out its promise in the next budget to freeze ferry fares on major routes from the mainland to Vancouver Island, and reduce the fares on smaller routes by 15 per cent.

The new rates will take effect at the start of the next fiscal year April 1, and B.C. Ferries will also restore free travel for seniors on weekdays at that time, Trevena said.