Toll change scheduled for Tyne Tunnels
Tyne & Wear Integrated Transport Authority has announced that a change in the toll for goods vehicles using the Tyne Tunnels is expected to come into force on 1st January 2014.
Tyne Tunnel tolls will be frozen for car drivers (Class 2), who make up over 90% of tunnel users. They will see no increase in the £1.60 toll they currently pay. Motorcycles and scheduled bus services will also continue to be toll-free.
Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs/Class 3) will see a 70p rise to £3.20. This was announced in 2007 when a series of staged increases in tolls following the completion of the New Tyne Crossing project was agreed. This is the last in the series leading to the full ‘concession’ toll, which comes into effect on 1st January. The New Tyne Crossing included the construction of a second vehicle tunnel.
A change to vehicle classification is also proposed which will affect the drivers of high-sided vans, who make up less than 0.17% of customers. The Tyne Tunnels’ owners are publishing statutory notices to make drivers of vans of 3 metres high and above but under 3.5 tonnes aware that they will be classed the same as HGVs from 1st January.
Paul Fenwick, project director for the tunnels’ owner, the Tyne & Wear Integrated Transport Authority, said: “On 1st January 2014 we move from a transitional arrangement for tolls following the completion of the New Tyne Crossing to the base toll required to fund the project – known as the Concession toll.
“As part of the setting of the Concession tolls, we are also required to specify the criteria for each class of vehicles. The new system will be based on the height of vehicles rather than weight and will align with the automated toll system installed as part of the New Tyne Crossing.
“High-sided vans up to 3.5 tonnes are the only vehicles which will change class, subject to approval by the Secretary of State for Transport. TT2, the tunnel operator, has been making manual adjustments to allow high-sided vans to use the tunnels as Class 2 vehicles under the current toll Order.
“We have looked at several permutations to reduce the impact of this change, which affects only about 90 journeys per week day. All the options to mitigate the impact, including continuing with manual adjustments, are inordinately complicated, costly and difficult to administer.
“Reluctantly the most straightforward option is to classify vehicles by height, meaning that high-sided vans will move from Class 2 to Class 3. We will be communicating directly with those affected to let them know about the change.
“Toll increases are never popular but we have done everything we can to keep them as low as possible for all tunnel users while delivering an increase in capacity which has resulted in the virtual elimination of the delays and congestion that were once synonymous with the Tyne Tunnel.”
Please contact: Richard Simpson, Bradley O’Mahoney Public Relations, 07821 537106, with any queries.