Metro Vancouver residents are satisfied (65%) with the new Port Mann Bridge, but remain divided on bridge tolls (51% in favour / 45% opposed) and plan to change their travel behaviour to avoid the toll.
Vancouver, BC – A fresh Insights West online survey of 583 Metro Vancouver residents conducted the week following the opening of the new Port Mann Bridge shows that although residents are quite satisfied with the new bridge, they are still divided on bridge tolls (51% are in favour, and 45% are opposed), and a significant number plan to either seek out new routes (26%) or drive over the bridge less often (33%).
Support and Opposition to the Toll
While a very slight majority of Metro Vancouver residents are in favour of the toll (51%), opposition is significant south of the Fraser among bridge users. Among residents who use the bridge once a week or more often, opposition to the tolls runs at 60%, and only 40% are in favour. Occasional users and those who never use the bridge are supportive of the toll (52% – 54%) overall, but more occasional users are opposed (44%) compared to those who never use the bridge (26%), with the balance being undecided. TReO decal users are reluctant supporters, with 55% supportive and 45% opposed.
Drivers plan to make significant changes to their driving patterns now that the toll is in place. Among drivers who cross the bridge monthly or more often, a significant number (27%) say they will actively seek out new routes in order to avoid the toll (especially weekly users – 34%), and 33% say they plan to drive over the bridge less often. Just over half (52%) say that they will use the bridge as usual and just pay the toll. When the toll increases to $3.50 on March 1st (except TReO decal users, who pay $1.50 until the end of 2013) the numbers are even more dramatic – with 46% saying they will seek out new routes and 33% saying they will drive over the bridge less often.
“The issue of tolling seems to have divided Metro Vancouver into two camps – those who are in favour since they don’t drive over the bridge, with the opposition camp being firmly entrenched among drivers who are impacted,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “Residents south of the Fraser remain bitterly opposed to the toll, despite being satisfied with the new bridge overall. It will be interesting to see whether drivers follow through with their bridge avoidance plans and we end up with an under-utilized bridge like the Golden Ears while congestions move to the free routes.”
Satisfaction with the Bridge Is High
Despite opposition to the tolls, the vast majority of Metro Vancouver residents are satisfied with the bridge and expect it to save them driving time. Nearly two-thirds (65%) say they are very (25%) or somewhat (40%) satisfied with the new bridge now that it has been completed. Very few are either not very (5%) or not at all satisfied (5%) – and there’s a good percentage who are taking a “wait and see” attitude, saying they “don’t know”. Even weekly users – who are opposed to the toll and say they will seek alternate routes – are for the most part satisfied (65%), although this group has the largest proportion who are dissatisfied as well (24%).
Among those who use the bridge monthly or more, the majority (58%) feel it will save them either a significant amount (20%) or a little (38%) time in crossing.
TReO has been very successful in its communications with drivers, as 70% of those who use the Port Mann monthly or more have registered to get a TReO decal, and this rises to 76% of those who cross the bridge weekly or more often.
About Insights West
Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company that exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis, through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations.
Results are based on an online study conducted between December 1st and December 5th, 2012, among 583 British Columbians aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been satistically weighted according to British Columbia census figures for age, gender and region. Results have a =/- 4.06% margin of error. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.
For more information on this study or any other inquiries on our Your Insights panel, contact:
President, Insights West