Motorists ‘less likely’ to use Tyne Tunnel as cashless system change fine fears grow

“Happy with pre-pay and it works brilliantly - why change it - ridiculous!”

There are big changes coming to the Tyne Tunnel (Image: Shutterstock)

Motorists are 'less likely' to use the Tune Tunnel once a cashless system is introduced, NewcastleWorld.com has found.

The tunnel will no longer accept payments via cash or card from Monday, November 8 when it closes its toll booths.

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Instead, drivers will have to use the tunnel's Pre-Paid system to cough up before driving or remember to pay online by midnight the day after their journey.

NewcastleWorld.com surveyed 56 people who use the Tyne Tunnel to gather public reaction to the imminent changes.

The tunnel already had a Pre-Paid system in place that is currently the preferred payment method of 55.6% of users.

The other 44.6%, who currently pay by cash, are those who will be affected by the changes.

If drivers don't set up a Pre-Paid account and organise themselves to pay ahead of time, they will have to remember to pay the fee once they get home.

Users have until midnight the day after their trip to pay the £1.90 fee via an online pay later service, an automated telephone line, or at PayPoint tills found in shops.

With the new change, 34.8% of current users fear they will forget to pay the fee and put themselves at risk of a fine.

Users worry they may pick up fines with the new system (Image: Google Forms)

Fines are set at £30 if paid within 14 days, £60 within 28 and £100 after that.

52.2% of current users believe the motivation behind the change to be a desire to increase revenue through fines.

The Tyne Tunnel says it collects tolls to pay for the tunnel's construction, which was self-funded when constructed.

The website states: "As a private road it is vital that tolls continue to be collected to cover the costs to pay for the operation and maintenance of the tunnels."

The Tyne Tunnel outlines the reasons for November's change to include greater journey efficiency and to reduce carbon dioxide fumes.

50% of respondents also believed the change would increase efficiency, with just 26.1% believing that the environment was at the heart of the decision.

All in all, once the cashless change comes into play in November, 56.4% of current users say they are less likely to use the Tyne Tunnel.

The public are split on the motivation of the change (Image: Google Forms)

Here's what people had to say...

"Rubbish what about older drivers who don't use bank cards?"

"Happy with pre-pay and it works brilliantly - why change it - ridiculous!"

"Great idea, I've used the prepay system since it started and it's much better. It can only improve when the barriers are removed."

"Given past performance, I do not think that they have the systems or infrastructure to successfully implement and the public will bear the brunt."

"I'm not sure that everyone will be aware of how to pay if they are from outside the area, but I'll be happy not being behind someone fumbling around for change."

"It's totally unnecessary from the users' point of view. About time it was free, like similar places in Scotland and Wales."

"Queues in the morning and evening so anything that improves the situation is great. The vast majority don’t use cash to pay at the toll, it usually only takes a single person who isn’t prepared with cash to cause a massive traffic jam."