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First Anniversary of Open Road Tolling – New data showing great strides made

It’s been one year since we modernised by switching to open-road-tolling and new data just released shows journey times are down; C02 emissions have been slashed; and the number of people paying their toll on time has surged.

A 12-month review of all the statistics collected since the toll booths were removed in November 2021, shows a positive overall picture of our performance and that drivers are getting through the tunnels 42 seconds faster, on average, than they were before.

Under the new system, cameras automatically register journeys and payment needs to be made before midnight the following day.

We have seen nearly 17.5 million journeys made in the last 12 months and almost 97% of drivers are now paying their toll on time – which is up from 94.6% a year ago.

The number of tunnel users pre-paying for their journeys via a pre-paid account has rocketed by 138% which has considerably helped reduce non-compliance because it reduces the risk of forgetting to pay.

We are proud of the emissions data which shows over 90% less CO2 is being emitted into the air at the tunnels, compared to 12 months ago. The CO2 saving over the last year equates to 26,987 return passenger flights from Newcastle to New York.

Philip Smith, our Chief Executive, said: “I am incredibly proud of how far we have come in the year since we introduced such a significant, historic change at the tunnels. Our main objectives of delivering faster, smoother journeys, reduced emissions and better local air quality have been met and we continue to listen to customers and analyse data and feedback to make sure we continuously improve our processes and the customer experience.”

The number of Unpaid Toll Charge Notices (UTCNs) being issued as a percentage of journeys made in the month are down from 5.39% in month one, to 3.11% in October 22.

Northbound journeys are now 42 seconds faster and southbound trips, 41 seconds quicker – on average across a day.

The government required the construction of both Tyne Tunnels to be self-funded through toll revenue. As a private road, tolls are collected to pay for the construction and the crossing’s extensive operation, safety and maintenance.

The contract given to TT2 Limited in 2007 is now halfway through its 30-year term. At this point, owe the lenders that funded the construction of the second tunnel around £240m. The local authorities which own the tunnels also have borrowings relating to the tunnel construction that are being repaid from toll money.

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