Humberside

Humber Bridge toll-free travel for hospital patients

Humber Bridge Image copyright PA
Image caption The Humber Bridge Board said a six-month trial would start 1 October

Hospital patients in Lincolnshire who need to travel across the Humber Bridge for treatment in East Yorkshire will be able to cross for free.

The Humber Bridge Board said it would trial the plan for cancer patients on the south bank to get toll-free travel for six months starting on 1 October.

Campaigners have been lobbying for hospital patients to be toll-exempt.

Dr Raj Roy, of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said his oncology patients were "delighted" by the news.

Patients who need more than 12 separate appointments for a course of treatment would be issued pre-paid tickets.

'Positive impact'

Councillor Chris Shaw, chairman of the Humber Bridge Board, said the scheme would be reviewed at the end of the six-month period "to see if any modifications are required".

"The trial will enable us to test the management of this concession to see how feasible it is in the long-term.

"It will also be interesting to gather feedback from cancer patients who will benefit from this toll exemption about the positive impact it has," he said.

Dr Roy said: "Some of our patients have been calling for exemption from bridge tolls for many years now, including the late Jenny Walton, who was a very strong and passionate campaigner."

Mrs Walton had lobbied MPs and organised petitions urging for tolls to be abolished. She died from cancer in March.

The trial comes after a new bill went through Parliament last year. The New Humber Bridge Act passed control of the bridge to a new board that could allow dispensations from the toll to certain groups.

Toll charges were reduced from £3 to £1.50 for a single car journey in April 2012 after the government cleared £150m of the £330m outstanding debt in 2011.

North East Lincolnshire Council said patients on the south bank would get toll-free travel soon after the charges were slashed.

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