The recently released Halifax Harbour Bridges 2020/21 annual report suggests the COVID 19 pandemic had a significant impact on both traffic volumes and corresponding toll revenues.
With the province under a state of emergency during the entire fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, measures such as travel bans, quarantines and the closure of non-essential services, meant fewer people were travelling – and taking the bridges.
Traffic volumes decreased in fiscal 2021 by 22.1% from the prior year representing 7,364,000 fewer crossings than a year earlier. The pandemic impact had the most severe impact on traffic and toll revenue in April 2020 when traffic was 55% lower than the prior year. Traffic volumes trended upwards during the remainder of the fiscal year, with March 2021 traffic volume at 90% of pre-pandemic levels.
With 100 per cent of revenues derived from tolls and fees based on traffic volumes, total revenue for HHB operations dropped by more than $6 million to $25.7 million, from $32.1 million in 2019/2020.
The report indicates the next several years will be critical for HHB as it focuses on the rehabilitation and maintenance of the two bridges as well as the renewal of the tolling system. In October 2021, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approved the first toll increase in a decade. The increase will allow HHB to carry out $280 million in maintenance and repair over the next decade to ensure bridges are well maintained and operational for the safety and convenience of the travelling public.
The Annual report outlines in detail many of the projects completed during the fiscal year and points to some of the future works that need to be undertaken. You can read the full report and view financials here
2020 – 2021 CROSSINGS
Passenger vehicles 25.2 million
Commercial vehicles 1.01 million
2020- 2021 MACPASS usage
MACPASS $20.7 million (78.7%)
Cash $5.6 million (21.3%)