A new poll has found Lower Mainland motorists are more opposed to tolls on the Port Mann Bridge now than they were a year ago, when the charge was first imposed.
The Insights West online survey found 56 per cent are opposed to the toll, up from 45 per cent a year ago.
And dissatisfaction with paying to use the Highway 1 crossing of the Fraser River is greatest among frequent users.
Nearly three quarters of those surveyed who use the bridge once a week or more oppose the toll, Insights West vice-president Mario Canseco said.
“The issue of tolling remains contentious and opposition to the tolls has intensified.”
The poll comes as most bridge users face having to pay even more come January.
Half-price discounts for the first year end on Jan. 1, when the bulk of traffic using the bridge will begin paying the full $3 toll, instead of $1.50.
The survey found 31 per cent of drivers will actively seek out a free alternative route in 2014 to avoid paying the toll, while 23 per cent said they would drive over the bridge less often.
Of drivers who use the Port Mann at least weekly, 48 per cent said they will continue to use it as usual and just pay the toll.
“Some casual drivers have already chosen other routes, such as the Pattullo Bridge, in order to save some cash,” Canseco said. “Still, practically half of heavy Port Mann Bridge users are just going to carry on when the toll goes up.”
Canseco noted the number of drivers who said they did not use the Port Mann Bridge at all in the past 12 months has climbed to 22 per cent, from 10 per cent when the same question was asked a year ago.
Although the bridge discounts are ending, provincial government officials say new lanes on Highway 1 through Coquitlam and Burnaby are opening up that will relieve traffic bottlenecks and reduce travel times.