For years, many members of the public have been flouting the tolls on the Skye Bridge and have not been paying their fare share of the profits of the Bank of America by not paying any tolls anytime they visit the new Co-op supermarket in Kyle of Lochalsh.
But - they don't use the bridge, it is 100 yards from the village centre, so why should they have to pay a toll??
Ah - there's the crunch!
The toll order - correctly known as (Statutory Instrument 1501 - 23rd June 1992 coming into force 26th June 1992) states that the crossing means the special road (excluding the roundabout) to be provided in pursuance of the Invergarry-Kyle of Lochalsh Trunk Road (A87) Extension (Skye Bridge Crossing) Special Road Scheme 1992(a). The Special Road Scheme runs from the point where Main Street Kyle intersects the A87 to the roundabout at the Kyleakin end of the Special Road.
Therefore, although the toll barrier is 1/4 mile from the centre of the village of Kyle, the road you drive along to get to it (and also use to reach the supermarket) is technically covered by the toll order and therefore liable to have to pay a toll.
Yet another example of the carelessness and lack of thought that was put into the planning and subsequent extortionate prices being charged for the Skye Bridge.
As every day goes by, it is costing the taxpayer money in paying subsidies to the toll operator and for the VAT which was imposed by Europe on all tolls in the UK, as well as the crippling costs to the fragile economics of the Isle of Skye.
Labour made promises of removing the tolls last time they came to power - and then decided they couldn't do that.
They have now been re-elected to the Scottish Parliament, along with the Liberal Democrats (who have also stated that they will abolish the tolls).
Actions speak louder than words - lets see less words and more actions this time!!
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Copyright © Ray Shields, 2003.
Most recent revision, 03 June 2003