Tuesday, June 18, 2019

New Pricing Structure for Motorway Road Tolls Angers Road Haulage Lobby

Trial Scheme Rolled Out to All Vehicles
Shipping News Feature
UK – Midland Expressway Limited (MEL), operator of the M6 toll, has announced new toll prices including an additional off-peak rate, which will come into effect from 00:00hrs on Friday 12th July. The new pricing structure follows a series of product trials over the past 12 months to introduce a wider range of options for frequent users, which are now being launched to all eligible drivers. The uplift has been criticised by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), which said in a statement:

"Any increase in toll charges is unwelcome for the hard-pressed heavy haulage trade struggling with clean air zone charging and tight profit margins. Many operators have been put off using the M6 Toll for this very reason and it's hard to see how the increase will encourage more to use it."

The new toll prices include a new off-peak rate for drivers using the road on weekdays between 5am – 7am and 7pm – 11pm. MEL says it is designed to keep prices attractive for all road users and should enable on-going investment in the M6 toll including further development of innovative products to suit the specific needs of drivers.

As part of its ongoing commitment to support the regional economy, ease local congestion and save travel time for its customers, MEL insists it has encouraged and seen a strong boost in local use. Three new pricing options are being launched today for frequent users, following a successful trial over the past 12 months. Hopper, Shuttle and Return Pass offer discounts to drivers who regularly use the road.

Hopper caps weekly travel to £35 a week based on 10 return trips, which could save drivers over 35% a month.

Shuttle allows commuters to benefit from unlimited local journeys for £20 a week, which would save the average driver over £100 a month based on a commuting week.

For those travelling longer distances, ReturnPass provides a 20% saving on every same-day return journey.

The M6 toll was built to move long-distance traffic off the heavily congested M6 through Birmingham and currently welcomes around 50,000 customers every day or 18.2 million users a year. At peak times, up to 55% of trucks and 85% of cars making long-distance journeys through the M6 use the M6 toll, traffic which would otherwise be using the M6 and local routes such as the A5, A38 and A446. Andy Cliffe, chief executive at MEL, commented:

“The M6 toll has been alleviating huge volumes of traffic from the M6 and its surrounding roads for more than 15 years, providing a safer and more reliable route around the Midlands. The M6 toll is significantly faster than alternative routes, making planning more accurate for businesses and individuals and boosting overall efficiency.

“We’re committed to making our route stress-free and reliable for all, that’s why we’ve put customer feedback at the heart of our new off-peak price bands and our recent product trials to cap prices and offer attractive savings to local and/or frequent users, ensuring we maximise the positive impact of the M6 toll across the Midlands and beyond.

“Since 2014 we’ve seen a 14% increase in trucks using our road – a recent industry study* of HGVs shows that the M6toll is a safer road for travel than the M6 owing to a much lower accident rate, and with better fuel economy due to free-flowing traffic, HGV users also benefit from reduced fuel costs and emissions.

“We remain committed to increasing the volume of HGV traffic using the M6 toll in preference to the M6 or local roads, and ensure that our incentives for new HGV customers and pricing deals for commercial operators are innovative and attractive.”