Mersey Tunnels: Mayor proposes rush-hour toll reduction

Toll booths at Mersey tunnel Image copyright Google
Image caption The reduced toll was brought in off-peak in 2018

A plan to cut Mersey Tunnel tolls at peak times could save local motorists more than £400 each year, the region's mayor said.

Steve Rotheram has proposed that the £1 off-peak Liverpool City Region residents' rate for most tunnel users should also apply to rush-hour traffic.

The £1 charge, one of the mayor's manifesto pledges, was implemented last year. The standard fee starts at £1.80.

The plan will be considered by the area's transport chiefs on 31 January.

If approved, Mr Rotheram said the reduced toll would be available to all Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral residents from April who register for the Mersey Tunnels Fast Tag system.

'Small reduction'

Drivers without a fast tag will continue to pay a minimum of £1.80 to use the Kingsway and Queensway tunnels.

This is the rate for cars, motorbikes with sidecars and small vans - the drivers of larger vehicles are charged more.

The mayor said if approved, it would be the "lowest tunnel toll in over 25 years".

"It's good news for those people who use [the tunnels] on a regular basis, because they've always felt it was a bit of a tax on their work."

He said he would continue to press for government funding, but "until this happens, I will work to keep the tolls as low as possible".

"Nobody likes to have to pay to use the tunnels, but they are a critical element of the city region's infrastructure and we do not receive any central government funding to effectively operate, maintain and upgrade them."

He added that fulfilling his manifesto promise had "taken a little bit longer than we thought it would, but we are there now".

Campaign group Scrap Mersey Tolls, who called the initial off-peak reduction a "watering down" of the mayor's campaign promise, said the "small reduction" was "welcome, but that is offset by a 50% increase for those users of the tunnels who do not happen to live in Merseyside or Halton".

"Instead of these unfair changes, the mayor should use [Merseytravel's] profits to substantially reduce all tolls and work towards completely scrapping them."

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