What you said about payment options at the Tyne Tunnel - and how you would like to see the system change

Drivers have been having their say on payment methods at the Tyne Tunnel after it was revealed how much was made from those not using the correct change.

Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 11:03 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th February 2019, 11:12 am
Do you pre-pay to use the Tyne Tunnel?

A Freedom of Information request revealed that an additional £2.4million has been handed over by motorists at the toll booths since 2011. Tyne Tunnel bosses have reminded customers that change machines are available at the tunnel, and that permit holders can pre-pay online at a discounted rate - but many of you have called for other payment methods to be introduced, including the use of contactless cards at the barriers.

TT2 Limited, which operates the tunnel, is looking at new ways to remove cash from the payments process, and last year introduced new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology for drivers.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed how much money was made from no-change drivers.

Accounts are topped up online, and a vehicle's registration plate is read by a camera at the barrier, allowing a smoother journey through the tunnel.

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Martin Gannon, chairman of the North East Joint Transport Committee, which oversees transport across Tyne and Wear, Durham and Northumberland, joined TT2 bosses in defending the current payment system.

He said: "Change machines are available for all tunnel users, if they wish to use them, and permits with a 10% discount are available.

“The overpayments received to date have helped reduce the debt by an additional £1.02m since 2011, when the new tunnel opened, on top of the planned debt repayments."

You have been sharing your views on the figures on Facebook, with some calling for additional lanes for cash only, or ANPR only, to be added at the tunnel.

Many also argued that paying over the odds for a journey was a "choice" since facilities are available to avoid this.

Here's what you had to say on our Facebook pages:

John Coxon: "Should be contactless card only. Quicker and doesn't rob the customer."

Charlotte Fox: "No excuse for raising the toll, shocking."

Paul Brewis: "Amazing given that there are change machines at both sides of the tunnel!"

Jerry Milne: "Get a tunnel pass much better."

Elizabeth Walker-hiles: "Hope some gets donated to local charity."

Victoria Chisholm: "It’s the same in most parking meters too. Not on."

Jen Green: "My pet hate...always make sure I have money on my permit or the right change...if I don't I pay by card and hold the queue up...sorry they aren't taking anymore of my hard earned cash than I have to give."

Stephen Fenwick: "This must be the only toll where you have to pay cash, everywhere else you have an option. For instance the Dartford Crossing."

Alan Barrett: "Toll booths have returned coins drawer why not give change or is that too easy?"

Graeme Brett: "The tolls should be abolished. Why should residents and businesses of North and South Tyneside have to pay to cross the river while residents and businesses in Newcastle and Gateshead can cross one of many bridges for free."

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Read more: Tyne Tunnel bosses rack up £2.4million from no-change drivers

Keith Hezz Heslop: "Why not reduce it to a £1 then ... deliberate price of £1.70 for that very reason people rarely have correct change so you have to overpay to get through."

Adam Saunders: "Solution, buy online in advance or have the correct change ready... simples."

Louise E Hl Thorpe: "More the reason for regulars to get passes online... £1.53 each trip!"

Tom Laverick: "Shouldn't be allowed to not give change at the machines. If you have a system which charges the public for a service then it should be law that you have to give back over payment at the machine."

Matthew Hunt: "For the inconvenience of waiting behind someone that comes to the barrier without cash or the correct change it's a small price to pay."

Aaron Younghusband: "And they're still putting prices up how's that justified?"

Rachel Breeze: "Definitely worth topping up online. It's cheaper and you don't have to mess about getting the right change, you can top up £1.53 if that's all you need, I never put more than £10 on but I don't use it every day."

Sheena Brown: "No one is forced to pay extra it's what they choose to do."

Jemeela El-Muracey: "You can pay online which is cheaper and lets you through the barrier quicker or there [are] change machines, just use the change machine.

"If you put the right money in and the barrier doesn’t lift, just press the buzzer and someone will come and sort it out. However they should donate some money to local charities.

"Or just make more barriers for people who have passes and less barriers for people with cash because, to be fair, I hate going behind someone who is paying cash never mind them having to wait for change."

Sean Waldron: "Don't get why people are moan, don't wanna give them your extra 30p change, use the change machine which is clearly sign posted out of the flow of traffic. Or pay online."