herald

Monday 21 August 2017

East Link toll to drop to €1.40 after council forced to remove VAT

Tolls on the East Link Bridge will be reduced from next week
Tolls on the East Link Bridge will be reduced from next week

Motorists can expect to pay lower tolls at the Thomas Clarke Bridge, formerly the East Link, from next Friday.

The price is to drop as VAT is removed, reducing the fare for car drivers from €1.75 to €1.40.

The toll for van drivers drops from €2.60 to €2.10.

The East Link Bridge was originally a private enterprise but was acquired by Dublin City Council (DCC) in 2015.

Charges

Users can no longer be charged VAT in line with a European Court of Justice ruling.

The Revenue Commissioners advised DCC that the toll link should not include VAT in its charges, as a public body.

"Dublin City Council received notification from the Revenue Commissioners on July 31, 2017, that the collection of tolls by Dublin City Council on the Thomas Clarke Bridge is outside the scope of VAT," the council said.

It added Friday, August 18, was the earliest the new charges could commence, due to required consultation with its software contractor.

The removal of VAT at the bridge has raised questions as to why no changes will be made to charges at other toll links.

However, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) director of corporate services, Ger Hannon, said that motorists were never charged VAT at the M50 or the Port Tunnel, which are both under TII control.

He said their prices had been set with the knowledge not to charge road users VAT.

In the case of toll bridges outside of Dublin, which are all run under a Public-Private Partnership system, he said that, as private companies, these toll links are required to charge VAT on top of the fare.

Dublin Chamber has praised the removal of VAT at the Thomas Clarke Bridge but said more could be done for commuters travelling across Dublin city.

Head of public affairs Graeme McQueen said that, while the reduced toll charges were a step in the right direction, there was also a need to improve public transport.

Mr McQueen said there was a cause to set up a joint charge or a single-ticket system for drivers using the Port Tunnel and the East Link in one journey, to make the route more attractive for motorists.

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