Fewer requesting help crossing Confederation Bridge since new fee

People now have to pay $40 if they want a bridge employee to drive their car across the Confederation Bridge for them.

Strait Crossing says 50 per cent drop in people using service since $40 fee started in February

The company that operates the Confederation Bridge started charging 'apprehensive drivers' a fee for being driven across the bridge. (Canadian Press)

Half as many people are now asking for help getting across the Confederation Bridge since a new $40 fee for an "apprehensive driver" service started in February. 

Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd, the company that operates the bridge, has been offering the service to people who don't feel comfortable driving their own cars across the nearly 13-kilometre-long span since the bridge opened 20 years ago. 

Previously, there was no fee to have a bridge employee drive their car across the bridge for them. 

Bridge manager Michel LeChasseur says there is no way to know for sure if the fee is the reason for the 50 per cent reduction in the number of people asking to be driven across the bridge. (CBC)

Michel LeChasseur, general manager of Strait Crossing, said it's hard to say if the fee has been deterring people from using the service.

"It certainly, you would think at least, part of it is the reason for it," he said.

"But I can't say for sure that that's the real reason, the total reason."

'Thought it was going away and it wasn't'

LeChasseur said the company initially provided the service free of charge in hopes people would eventually become more comfortable going over the bridge. That didn't happen.

"It is a feature that is permanent unfortunately and we have to respond to it," he said.

"We probably thought it was going away and it wasn't."

Michel LeChasseur, general manager of the company that operates the bridge, says that compared to the amount of traffic crossing over, the number of 'apprehensive drivers' is small, but still a relatively common occurrence. (CBC)

LeChasseur said the fee was put in place to try and make up for some of the time bridge employees spend driving people across.

"Somebody has to stop whatever they're doing, go and do that, and then wait for somebody to drive them back," he said.

"There is effort there, there is cost and there is lost productivity of other jobs."

LeChasseur said they haven't received any complaints about the fee.

With files from Noah Richardson