Travel bosses forced to delay decision on Tyne Tunnel toll rise after too few councillors turn up for key meeting
A decision to up the price of the Tyne Tunnel toll has been delayed because too few Tyne and Wear councillors turned up to a meeting on the scheme.
A vote was due to be held on Thursday (November 3) on a major increase that could see drivers charged an extra 30p per trip to use the crossing.
But plans had to be put on hold after it emerged there would not be enough councillors present at a key transport panel to make the decision binding.
Under the plans, car drivers’ toll would rise from £1.90 to £2.20 in 2023 and the HGV toll would go up from £3.90 to £4.40.
Regional transport chiefs said the change was needed because of rising inflation levels, but had suggested that the increase be pushed back from February next year to May to avoid putting struggling residents under further financial strain over the winter.
The proposals will now be determined at a rescheduled date of November 15, after it became clear that Thursday’s meeting of the North East Joint Transport Committee’s Tyne and Wear sub-committee would not be quorate.
A spokesperson for Transport North East said: “The Tyne and Wear Sub Committee is a relatively small committee made up of five members, as such, it has a disproportionately high quorum of four. Unfortunately on this occasion two members have conflicting commitments and have given their apologies in advance, hence the need to rearrange.
“The meeting has been rescheduled for 15 November 2022. The new date of the meeting isn’t expected to affect the implementation of items on the agenda.”
Motorists who pay their Tyne Tunnel toll using a pre-paid account would still get a 10% discount under the new proposed toll levels, making the cost £1.98 for cars and £3.96 for HGVs.
Keeping the toll at an “artificially lower level” until next May would require £1.5m to be spent from the Tyne and Wear councils’ Tyne Tunnel cash reserves, but bosses say that freezing the toll beyond next May would mean that their reserves would “be reduced to an unacceptable level”.
Members of the panel had also been due to discuss plans to put a £2 cap on Tyne and Wear Metro journeys this winter.