Istanbul’s Eurasia Tunnel tolls hiked

Istanbul’s Eurasia Tunnel tolls hiked

Istanbul’s Eurasia Tunnel tolls hiked

Tolls to use the Eurasia Tunnel, the first ever road tunnel connecting Europe and Asia underneath the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, have been hiked by 26.5 percent, according to ATAŞ, the company that operates the tunnel.

Hiked prices went into the effect on Feb. 1, according to a statement issued on the ATAŞ website on Jan. 31.

As a result of the rise, the one-way toll for passenger cars has increased to 21 liras from 16.6 liras, while the toll for minibuses has been hiked to 31.5 liras from 24.9 liras.

The tunnel, which is the deepest double-road tunnel in the world, opened on Dec. 20, 2016. The state guarantee had foreseen that 25.6 million vehicles would use the tunnel per year, but fewer than 10 million vehicles used the tunnel last year, leaving the government liable to pay the difference for the missing 15 million vehicles.

As a result of last year’s shortfall, ATAŞ will receive 123 million liras from the state, a top ATAŞ official recently said in an interview.

The tunnel, which cost $1.25 billion, is due be operated by ATAŞ for 24 years and five months. The project was carried out under a build-operate-transfer (BOT). Almost $1 billion of the amount was provided through international loans, while the remaining amount was financed by Yapı Merkezi and SK E&K, which are the two equal shareholders in ATAŞ.

The tunnel, linking Kazlıçeşme on Istanbul’s European side and Göztepe in Asia, aims to reduce chronic traffic congestion in Turkey’s most populous city.

At the beginning of 2018, the government raised bridge and highway tolls. The tolls for the first and second bridges over the Bosphorus Strait and highways were increased by 10 to 25 percent, depending the size of vehicles as of the first day of 2018.