Confederation Bridge Planning Cuts and Reduced Service
May 2, 2014
The President of the PEI Union of Public Sector Employees, Debbie Bovyer, says “Strait Crossing Bridge Limited (SCBL) is looking at using only self-serve toll booths at night at the Confederation Bridge. SCBL officials point to safety as the main reason for the potential change, however, the union has questions.”
“Bridge officials say Toll Attendants working late at night are more likely to be robbed so having only self-serve tolls is a good idea. While this may be true statistically of robberies, there have not been any attempted robberies at night since the Bridge opened. Security measures are also in place to ensure that there aren’t large sums of money in the toll booths,” says Bovyer.
Bovyer adds that “more prevalent safety issues revolve around the use of self-serve tolls themselves. Lane four at the Bridge has been a self-serve toll since the bridge opened and many accidents have occurred in this lane. If the toll malfunctions or someone uses it improperly drivers can’t pass through. They often try to back away which has resulted in collisions.”
President Bovyer believes the real reason SCBL is considering offering only self-serve at night is to save the company money. However, if the changes are implemented the public will receive less service and unionized workers could lose twenty-three hours of work per week. Bovyer explains “that if a customer is having difficulties with self-serve only, their options for help will be limited. Without someone working at the tolls, customers will have to rely on a lone Bridge Patroller for help who could be twenty minutes away at any given time depending on their location. Customers will have the option of pressing a button to speak to a Controller, however, Controllers cannot leave their station to offer physical assistance.”
Bovyer says “the public will be inconvenienced in the future if only self-serve night tolls are available. There are safety issues, wait times for assistance, and customers who are just carrying cash will be unable to pass through the toll. They will be forced to purchase a bridge card at the nearest service station. If these changes go ahead we will see a reduction in the quality of service provided to Islanders and tourists.”
Please contact Mark Barrett at 892-5335 (or toll-free at 1-800- 897-8773) to arrange an interview.