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Commuters using transit to avoid Port Mann Bridge tolls

SURREY (NEWS1130) There’s more than one way to skin a cat and apparently there’s more than one way avoid tolls on the Port Mann Bridge.

We’ve been telling you for months about how drivers are seeking out free alternatives to the new toll bridge.

The numbers bear that out:  200,000 fewer vehicles crossed the new Port Mann in February than went over the old bridge at the same time last year.

Ridership on the new Langley to Burnaby express bus is up too and TransLink expects that growth to continue.

“Right now in the peak periods, the peak direction we’re seeing close to, pretty much close to full-seated loads, which is great news, but there’s still lots of room to grow in the off-peak periods and also the reverse,” says Derek Zabel, who speaks for the transportation authority.

“You’ll probably see in the next couple of months that ridership will start to pick up a little bit, and I think people are starting to see that it’s a great alternative.  You can park your car over at Carvolth and hop on that bus and it doesn’t take long from Carvolth Exchange over to Braid Station.”

Ridership last month was estimated at 38,000. That’s up from 23,000 in December.

As for when that express bus will begin making stops in Surrey, Zabel says TransLink is still working on it.

Meantime, a warning to check your tolling statement if you use the Port Mann Bridge.

News1130 has spoken with a man from Surrey who claims he was wrongly charged for crossing the new span six times!

Dave Stewart says he spoke with the company that runs the bridge and it confirmed there was a mix-up.

The bill should have gone to the driver of a car from Quebec which has the same licence plate number.

But Stewart now wonders how many other people may also have been charged by mistake.