Driver left shocked after £166 Tyne Tunnel fine - despite being in credit on his pre-pay account
A driver was left shocked after receiving a fine of £166 from the Tyne Tunnel, despite paying his way.
David Gosling travelled through the Tyne Tunnel in August and experienced an issue with the barrier not lifting, despite having sufficient funds in his pre-paid account.
To get through the barrier, David selected a pay-later ticket and immediately contacted TT2 customer services to inform them what had happened.
The 74-year-old said he was told £1.71 would be taken from his account and no further action was required.
But soon after, David, who lives in Durham, received a letter informing him he had been issued with a £61 fine, despite being told the matter had been dealt with and that his journey had been paid for.
After checking his account, David found that even though customer services had told him they deducted the journey, this was incorrect and it had led to the fine.
After chasing the issue with TT2, £1.71 was eventually removed from his account – but David continued to receive letters demanding payment for his fine.
After writing to TT2, the company which operates the tunnels, and its Chief Executive Phillip Smith, David received no reply and during this time his fine had risen to £166, being handed over to a debt collection agency.
David said: “At first I regarded this saga as a bit of a joke but, as you will appreciate, it has gone way beyond that and demonstrates that TT2 is an organisation which is either inefficient or ignores letters sent to it, including the man at the top.”
The Tyne Tunnel toll booths and barriers are in the process of being demolished after the crossing moved to a cashless system in November.
The new ‘open road tolling’ scheme means drivers must instead pay for their journeys via a pre-paid account, or do so before midnight the next day via an online service, an automated telephone line, or at PayPoint tills found in shops.
Bosses say this both speeds up journeys and also helps cut carbon emissions by removing the need for cars to queue up.
After being contacted by the Gazette for a comment, TT2 looked into the incident and cancelled David’s fine.
A spokesperson for TT2 said: “We have looked into David’s case and found that the initial issue occurred because there was no vehicle registration number registered to his account, so he had to take a pay later ticket. The toll was deducted but a human error meant that the case was not ‘closed’ on our system, which resulted in a fine being issued.
“We are very sorry for our mistake and for the distress and inconvenience this caused Mr Gosling. We have, of course, cancelled the fine.”
David is thankful the fine has been cancelled due to intervention but refutes the claim from TT2 no vehicle registration number was registered to his account, claiming he had used the same car to pass through the tunnel many times before.