Date set for fresh Tyne Tunnel price hike for motorists (cloned)

Tyne Tunnel toll to rise in May as leaders sign off on 20p hike for cars and 40p rise for HGVs.

Drivers will have to pay more to use the Tyne Tunnel from this May.

A hike in the tunnel toll was agreed on Thursday afternoon, increasing the cost of a single trip through the crossing by 20p for cars and 40p for lorries.

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The toll for cars will rise from £2.20 to £2.40 and the class three vehicle toll, for HGVs, LGVs, van or buses over 3.5 tonnes, will go from £4.40 to £4.80 on May 1, 2024.

A 10% discount will still be applied for motorists who use a pre-paid Tyne Tunnel account, which is the large majority of users.

The changes were signed off at a North East Joint Transport Committee (JTC) meeting in Gateshead, where councillors were told that the 9% toll increase was a contractual obligation and also needed to keep up with repayments on debts incurred building the second Tyne Tunnel.

North Tyneside deputy mayor Carl Johnson, who chairs the JTC’s Tyne and Wear sub-committee, said of the toll increase: “This is a decision for this committee, but it is also in the contract [with tunnel operator TT2] that tolls should rise by this amount. If we don’t increase the tolls that means it would have to be funded from other budgets.

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“Transport budgets right around the region are massively stretched at the moment, so there is no other place where that money can be found.”

A previous toll rise in 2023 was delayed due to concerns about the impact of imposing higher fees on residents during a cost of living crisis.

But a report to the JTC said that putting that increase off from February to May 2023 cost more than £1m and could not be repeated.

It warned: “Members may be concerned at an increase in the toll given cost pressures for customers elsewhere, however, to delay the proposed increase in line with RPI would significantly deplete the Tyne Tunnels reserves and thus threaten the long-term financial health of the budget.”

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A separate report confirms that more than 1.6 million journeys were made through the tunnel last November – an increase of around 62,000 compared to the previous year.

Following the tunnel’s switch to a cashless payment system and the removal of its old toll barriers, latest figures show that 97.63% of motorists are now paying for their journey by the deadline of midnight the following day.

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