Motorists gathered in Gocek over the weekend to protest against the recent hike in tunnel toll charges. According to Milliyet online, local citizens and regular users of the tunnel clubbed together following a social media appeal and petition on Change.org for support. There was a good turn out and the group gathered at the tolls yesterday afternoon with banners and boards in an attempt to provoke a reduction in charges.
Gocek Tunnel is on the main highway leading from Mugla to Antalya. It also lies on the main tourist transfer route taking you from Dalaman International Airport to many of the popular resorts including Oludeniz, Calis, Fethiye, Kalkan and Kas. Although there is a twisting old mountain road people boycotting the tunnel can take to avoid the new charges, by far the quickest route, shaving around 25 minutes off the journey, is by taking the tunnel.
Interestingly, out of 172 tunnels in Turkey, Gocek Tunnel is the only one charging a fee. The protest group spokesperson Fatih Ozpolat, claims that pre the June elections of last year, the local AKP government had said they were going to make the tunnel toll free. This, of-course, wasn’t the case. Ozpolat pointed out that even the Boagazici Bridge in Istanbul only charges a toll one way, not both like the tunnel. He pointed out to the Milliyet that the charges are not displayed on entry to the tunnel, just on reaching the toll’s at the other end. He is urging the the private company in charge of the tunnel and local AKP party officials to reconsider the new fee’s and also a number of tunnel maintenance and safety issues.
Mehmet Orhan, Ruling AKP District President is apparently following the situation closely and in negotiations with the construction firm in order to make the tunnel free in the future but they have not come to any agreement so far. Reportedly, water leaks in the existing tunnel and delays in the construction of the second tunnel (that was supposed to be opened last year), are costly and delaying proceedings.
New Toll Charges One Way:
Motorbikes/Scooters – Now 2TL (from 1.5TL)
1st Class (Cars) – Now 4.5 TL (from 3.5TL)
2nd Class (Trucks / Vans) – Now 6TL (from 4.5TL)
3rd Class (Smaller Lorries etc.) – Now 9TL (from 7TL)
4th Class (Large Lorries etc.) – Now 13TL (from 10TL)
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