Mersey Tunnel ‘Authorised’ Tolls Will Increase in April 2012

As readers of the blog and the wider community will be aware the  Mersey Tunnels Act 2004, pushed through by New Labour allows ‘Authorised Tolls’ to rise based on RPI figures each year.    The Authorised Toll is the amount that Merseytravel are allowed to charge, unless of course they discount them.     Currently discounts apply on each class and I sincerely hope will not be removed or increased in April 2012.

Folowing publication of the November RPI figures I have just received the figures from Merseytravels Director of Resources on the impact on the Tolls, his note to me (below) and the table say it all.     The determination of payable tolls will be decided at the Merseytravel budget meeting in February 2012.  We all know that last time payable tolls increased it was forced through by the casting vote of the Labour Chairman of the Authority!

Email from Jim Barclay:

Chris, Further to recent emails, I can now advise you on the impact of  the latest RPI figures which  were released earlier this week. From  the inflation rates for November 2011 we  can understand the impact that this year’s inflation will have on the Authorised Toll Levels at the Mersey Tunnels. The table below details the Authorised Toll Levels and Actual Toll Levels currently in place, along with the Authorised Toll Levels that will come into effect on 1st April 2012. Obviously, the Authority will need to make a decision as to the Actual Tolls for 2012 when they meet on 9 February 2012. I hope this information helps: –

Class

Toll

Apr ‘11

Apr ‘12

1

Authorised

£1.60

£1.70

Actual Toll Cash

£1.50

 

Actual Toll Fast Tag

£1.30

 

2

Authorised

£3.30

£3.40

Actual Toll Cash

£3.00

 

Actual Toll Fast Tag

£2.60

 

3

Authorised

£4.90

£5.20

Actual Toll Cash

£4.50

 

Actual Toll Fast Tag

£3.90

 

4

Authorised

£6.50

£6.90

Actual Toll Cash

£6.00

 

Actual Toll Fast Tag

£5.20

 

 Kind Regards, Jim

 Jim Barclay, Director of Resources, Merseytravel, 24 Hatton Garden, Liverpool L3 2AN

Mersey Tunnels CCTV

Recently a few people have asked my why CCTV has been installed at all the Toll Booths at the tunnel entrance.   The answer as provided by Merseytravel to someone who submitted an FOI is appended below.    I trust that answers the question?   But if anyone wants any more info then let me know…

Tunnel Tolls Increased by Labour

Despite appeals by the small businesses, tunnels users, me, Mersey Tunnels Users Association, the CBI, MP’s both Labour and Conservatives,  and many many others, Labour-led Merseytravel has forced through a rise in tunnel tolls.

Me and Leah Fraser protested last time Merseytravel increased Tolls

As the Conservative Group Leader on Merseytravel I moved an amendment calling for a freeze on payable tolls and a reduction of 10p for Fast Tag users, sadly this was defeated, so I moved a further amendment calling for a total freeze on all payable tolls for both cash and fast tag users, and protecting the concessions for disable people, again this was voted down by nine Labour members and the Chairmans casting vote, so the cost for a car rises from £1.40 to £1.50 per crossing.

The increase, effective from the 1st April will generate a further income of over £1.8million for Merseytravel and will also allow a transfer of £4.125 million of surplus tolls to other transport schemes.      The tunnel debt as of today I was told is £67.7 million pounds, measure that against the £70 million pounds Merseytravel squandered on the failed tram scheme, ‘Line One to Knowhere’ 

Labour tell us they are on the side of working people, well guys actions speak louder than words, and the actions of the Labour group on Merseytravel today demonstrated just how much they care about working people.     Today they had  a choice and they chose to add to the economic chaos caused by the last Labour Government.   

Is it time Eric Pickles added Integrated Transport Authorities to his ‘To Do’ list?  Personally I think so, and the sooner the better.     It really is time for change at Merseytravel!   (Enjoy Joe)

Merseytravel Budget Meeting – Tunnel Tolls to Rise?

On Thursday this week 3rd February, the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority (MITA) has its annual budget meeting.     

As part of that meeting there is a separate report on the Mersey Tunnel Tolls, and the papers always come out at the same time, however this year the Tunnels report was delayed, I am told because the New Labour Chairman and Vice Chairman had not signed it off?   

And I have to say I am not surprised they wanted to delay it, the recommendation calls for an increase in cash tolls of 10p on Class One (cars), 20p on class two, 30p on class three, and 40p on class four.   All of that will increase tunnels revenue by £1.86 million in the year, allowing the authority to transfer over £4million of surplus tolls from the tunnels to other schemes!

And it does not stop there….   No,the recommendation asks the Authority to consider removing the concessionary tolls given to people with disabilities?

Because of legalities about -pre-determination I can’t say publicly what my thoughts are or how I will vote on the recommendations on Thursday.   Suffice it to say I will listen to all the arguments for and against, however the arguments for will have to be pretty strong to convince me.      

Whilst I am talking about pre-determination, surely the New Labour Chairman and Vice Chairman who signed off the report have predetermined the recommendation and should take no active part in its discussion or vote?

Affordable Yes, Available NO CHANCE!

Me with Cllr Leah Fraser and a Wallasey resident at a tolls rally

Today, along with my colleague Cllr Ian Lewis I attended the Integrated Transport Authority Budget meeting,  (Merseytravel).     At the meeting, having been told earlier in the week by the Director of Resources, that a 10p cut in Class One tolls was ‘Affordable’ and could be funded by ‘built in head room/Capital’ we moved an amendment accordingly, sadly although it was ‘Affordable’ it was voted down by Labour and Lib Dem Councillors.

Merseytravel is a really well run organisation and I am delighted to serve on it, however they seem intent on using the tolls, as some sort of cash cow to fund other schemes, all at the expense of the motorists.     

We are of course happy that tolls have not risen this year, however, I believe that a tremendous opportunity has been missed by Labour and Lib Dems to ease the burden on the tunnel users, an opportunity that may never be available again, and the ‘Authorised’ toll for cars at £1.60, is a ticking time bomb that is likely to explode in all our faces next year.

Merseytravel Budget Meeting 4th February, 2010

Tomorrow, as a member of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority (MITA) I shall be attending the full Authority meeting that will determine the budget for 2010/11.  One of the items on the agenda talks about Mersey Tunnel Tolls.     You can read more of my postings on that by clicking,  HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

Over the last week or so, I have, and I continue to ask questions of senior Merseytravel officers, so that I can explore options that may allow the Conservative Group on Merseytravel to move amendments to the Tunnels issue, to try to minimise the toll burden, however the final decision on the tunnels and the budget is a matter for the 18 elected Members who serve on the Authority.   I will keep an open mind on all the matters on the agenda and will listen to all the arguments put forward on the why’s and wherefores of the budgetry issues before I make my final decision on which way to vote.

Mersey Tunnel Tolls

Readers of the blog and the wider community will recall that I revealed that the Chief Exec and Director of Resorces for Merseytravel had told me that they would not be recommending to the full authority an increase in tunnel tolls this year.   The final decision of course remains with the 18 elected Members who serve on the ITA.   Read more on that, Here,and Here     This revelation clearly upset the Lib Dems!  You can read more on that HERE

I know have the Chief Execs full report before me and at 7.  Summary and Conclusions, para 7.2 it states, ‘In view of the impact of the current national economy downturn, as documented in the Merseyside Economic Review 2009, it is considered that there are matters of an economic and social nature within Merseyside that make it appropriate, for a further year, to discount the tolls below their authorised levels.    In terms of the amount of discount. it is considered prudent to retain for the 12 months commencing on the 1 April, 2010 both cash and AVI (fast tag) toll levels at the 2009/10 rates.’   Thats pretty clear to me, no recommendation to increase tolls,  unless Labour or the Lib Dems seek to move an amendment to increase them?