Tyne Tunnel operator reveal statistics since changing to cashless system and say journey times and CO2 emissions have been slashed
Tyne Tunnel bosses say a six-month review after controversial changes to payment for crossings show both journey times and C02 emissions have been slashed.
The Tyne Tunnels switched to a cashless, booth free system in November 2021 and tunnel operator TT2 say the changes have had a positive impact for commuters.
Under the new system, cameras automatically register journeys and payment needs to be made before midnight the following day.
The changes to the tunnels did not come without controversy, as a petition calling for changes to the tunnels fining system reached over 8,000 signatures and led to South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck demanding changes to the law over fines.
But since open road tolling was launched, TT2 say they have seen more than 10.6 million journeys made and during the first month , November 2021, 94.6% of drivers paid their toll on time, with that figure rising to 96.74% by May 2022.
On an average day, TT2 believes Northbound journeys are now 39 seconds faster and southbound trips 26 seconds quicker while claiming C02 emissions have reduced by 90%.
Philip Smith, CEO of TT2, said: “We have delivered faster, smoother journeys, less congestion, reduced emissions and better local air quality and they were the main reasons behind the decision to launch open-road-tolling.”
“We were fortunate to follow in the footsteps of open road tolling launches at the Dartford Tunnel and the Mersey Crossing, and we have benefited significantly from many of the lessons they learned.
“Of course, there have been some bumps in the road because changing a tolling system that has been in operation for decades and one that handles 18 million journeys every year is a challenge. But we continue to listen to our customers and learn how we can do better.”
In the time since the change, TT2 says the number of people being issued with an unpaid toll fine has dropped from 5.39% to 3.26%.
Phillip Smith added: “The fact that we now have almost 97% of drivers paying their toll without issue, is testament to the hard work of our team at TT2 and the strong partnership we have with our client, NECA.”