A Toll-Free Nation

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Delivering for Scotland #16: Bridge Tolls Scrapped

Before the SNP came to power, commuters had to pay bridge tolls every time they used the Forth and Tay crossings. This was despite tolls on the Skye and Erskine bridges being abolished in the preceding years.

Prior to the 2007 election victory, the SNP had campaigned strongly for all tolls to be scrapped – arguing it was unfair to continue charging some when others elsewhere in Scotland had already been done away with. Removing all bridge tolls was subsequently the first main piece of legislation by the SNP in government, which came into effect in early 2008.

Ever since, Scotland has had no chargeable roads – just one way the SNP is ensuring taxpayers in Scotland get the best deal anywhere in the UK. This was a boost not only for the immediate area of the tolls, but was hailed by campaigners as enabling Scotland as a toll-free nation to attract more inward investment and tourists.

Critically, it has saved regular commuters a great deal of money.  Research by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), reported last year, showed that the move has saved individual commuters around £3,000 to date.

It was worked out to be a saving of £233.50 a year across the Forth and £178.80 a year between Dundee and Fife. A combined 100,000 vehicles use the Tay Bridge and Queensferry Crossing each day.

The tolls also caused massive disruption for drivers who were forced to sit in long queues at the booths. Not only did scrapping the charges present a cash boost for commuters, it also cut down on congestion at both bridges.