New debt scheme for Tyne Tunnels drivers struggling with cost of toll fines in cashless era
A new service will launch next month to help Tyne Tunnels drivers struggling to cope with the cost of fines.
A cashless system was introduced last year, with drivers billed for using the tunnel after their journey and fined if they fail to pay by midnight the following day.
Drivers who fail to pay on time face a fine of £60 plus their toll amount (reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days). If payment is not received with 28 days, the total charge increases to £100 plus the toll and the case will be passed on to a debt collection/legal team.
But with concerns growing about the increasing cost of living, a new scheme is being put in place at the request of the North East Joint Transport Committee (JTC) to help people who receive an Unpaid Toll Charge Notice (UTCN) which they are genuinely unable to pay.
Transport North East has worked with tunnels operators TT2 Limited to put the pilot scheme in place.
The service will be delivered by independent debt advice experts PayPlan and advice will be based on personal circumstances.
Drivers will be able to receive debt management support, money advice, cancellation of UTCNs or a referral to supporting charities or welfare groups including Refuge, Gamcare and Bipolar UK.
Coun Carl Johnson, Chair of the JTC’s Tyne and Wear Sub Committee, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to put the new PayPlan debt advice service in place which will help those struggling to pay a UTCN as a result of financial hardship.
“As well as providing guidance relating to the unpaid toll charge, people using the new scheme will also receive personalised advice related to their individual circumstances, so I hope this will make a difference to those who need to use it.
“We know that there are local people who are struggling at the moment, including vulnerable people, so I hope people make use of this new system to get the help they need.”
To access the new system, individuals should contact TT2 Limited’s customer service line on 574 0031.To find out more about the Tyne Tunnels visit: www.tt2.co.uk