Duvar English

Tolls for the Eurasia Tunnel, a 5.4-km tunnel connecting the Asian and European sides of Istanbul underneath the Bosphorus Strait, have been increased by 56 percent, according to ATAŞ, the company that operates the tunnel.

Hiked prices went into the effect on Feb. 1.

Accordingly, the one-way toll for passenger cars has increased to 36,4 Turkish Liras ($6,09) from 23.3 liras ($3,90), while the one-way toll for minibuses has increased to 54.70 liras ($9,15) from 34.9 liras ($5,84).

This has been the third increase in tolls for the tunnel.

There has been a 119 percent hike in the tolls for the tunnel since it was opened to traffic on Dec. 22, 2016. The initial one-way toll was 16.6 liras for passenger cars and 24.9 liras for minibuses. The then-Transportation Minister Lütfi Elvan had said that one-way toll would be $4 for cars.

Open only to light vehicles, the undersea tunnel serves the Kazlıçeşme-Göztepe route. According to official data, 50,000 vehicles pass through the tunnel on average per day.

The state guaranteed to ATAŞ that no fewer than 25.6 million vehicles will use the tunnel per year and in the case of a lower number of vehicles, the Treasury pays for the difference of the missing vehicles.

In 2017, some 15.6 million vehicles used the tunnel, whereas this figure slightly increased to 17.5 million in 2018, leaving the government to pay for the difference.