M6 Toll: Car prices rise for motorway drivers

The Toll
Image caption The road carries more than 53,000 vehicles on weekdays

Prices will rise for car drivers using the M6 Toll, operator Midland Expressway Limited (MEL) has said.

The new prices will apply to cars using the M6 Toll during weekdays and will increase by 40p from 7 August. HGV prices will be frozen.

It will be the first rise in five years and will reflect a "partial catch‐up with inflation", MEL said.

The new car toll prices will be £5.90 for daytime main tolls and £4.40 for daytime ramps, known as local tolls.

Prices for all other classes of vehicle and all night and weekend prices remain unchanged.

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'Balance the books'

Bridget Fox, sustainable transport campaigner at the Campaign for Better Transport, said it was a reminder of the "failed experiment of the M6 Toll and the challenges faced by the new operators who are trying to balance the books".

She added: "Developing toll roads in isolation has proved to be expensive and unpopular. Any road pricing should be part of a comprehensive scheme such as moving to a distance-based HGV levy.

"Instead of pricy new roads, we need a fresh approach that prioritises public transport and gets more freight onto rail."

Analysis: BBC Midlands Today Transport Correspondent Peter Plisner

With calls for more lorries to use the road, instead of the congested M6, the price freeze for HGVs is a move that will please both haulage firms and the West Midlands Combined Authority. It's been calling for subsidies to persuade more HGVs on to M6 Toll.

Last month it emerged that after years of losses the M6 Toll has finally made a profit. And coffers will no-doubt be further boosted in the months to come with an increase in traffic levels as more road works begin on the M6 and M5.

The 27-mile route between Cannock and Coleshill in the West Midlands opened in 2003 at a cost of £900m to build.

It carries more than 53,000 vehicles on weekdays.

Andy Pearson, chief executive of MEL, said the pricing structure had been approached with "very careful consideration to economic sensitivities and the impact on our customers and their businesses".

"The new prices are effectively a partial catch‐up with inflation and are increasing by less than RPI over the same period," he added.

Despite the freeze to HGV drivers, Ed Neely, of Birmingham hauliers Neely Transport Ltd, said it "makes no difference" and would not be an incentive for his firm, which has 23 HGVs, to use the motorway.

"We don't use it at all because it's extortionate, it's £11 to drive six miles. If they made it free to HGVs we would use it," he said.

"Until that time, it won't happen."

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