Payment Terms

A truck with a ‘large flashing sign’ could be used at the entrances to the Tyne tunnel

A TRUCK with a ‘large flashing sign’ urging people to pay their toll or be fined £ 60 has been suggested as a potential measure after thousands of people were caught in the Tyne tunnel.

The mayor of the North East Combined Authority, which owns the tunnels, has responded as the tunnel continues to face huge backlash over its payment and appeal system.

Earlier this month, the Northern Echo revealed that thousands of people – including an MP – were asking for more time to pay, clearer signage and the introduction of an independent appeal system.

Read more: Anger at appeals process after thousands of drivers fined £ 60 at Tyne Tunnel

A petition put together by Gary Spedding has so far passed 10,000 signatures in which it calls for urgent changes in the way toll charges are applied and the current system scrapped.

Photo of Gary Spedding: CONTRIBUTOR

Meanwhile, South Shields Labor MP Emma Lewell-Buck said last week her office had been “inundated” with complaints from affected voters.

She revealed that since November drivers have been threatened with bailiffs for a fee of £ 1.90 – and in some cases harmed their mental health.

Read more: Thousands of drivers sign petitions for over £ 60 fine at Tyne Tunnel

In recent weeks, drivers have also claimed that signage advising drivers of road works meant existing signs were not obvious.

But in a statement, Labor Mayor Jamie Driscoll said TT2 and Transport North East had been asked to “improve” signage – but appeared to be making some concerns.

He said: “As mayor, I don’t run the tunnel, so I spoke to TT2 and Transport North East, and asked them to improve the signage.

The Echo of the North:

‘Park a truck with a large flashing sign’

“While there will be roadworks and cones, there will be people who will not see the signs.

“I suggested parking a truck near the tunnel entrances with a large flashing sign saying ‘pay the toll or you will be fined.’

“I’ve been told the app has been updated and the bugs fixed – and you can still call to pay, the phone lines are open 24/7.

“If you think you were disappointed with the payment systems call, 43% of calls were confirmed in the first month. ”

Read more: How to Subscribe to The Northern Echo FREE in January

The comments acknowledging the problems – and suggesting ways to resolve the issues – came after he said the drivers’ anger was “understandable.”

He said: “If people have tried to pay their toll charges and ended up fined because the system let them down, their anger is understandable.

“Most payment systems have worked well – 95% of trips went well – but even 5%, it’s still thousands of people fined. In some cases, because the application was not ready on time.

“In other cases, because they just didn’t realize they had to pay – especially if they are coming from outside the area and don’t know the tunnels. If that happens, the signage needs to be improved. ”

But not everyone was convinced by Mr Driscoll’s response, as some said the suggested measures were sarcastic.

Meanwhile, others have said they find his answer disappointing and partly echoed the operator’s answer TT2.

Responding previously to concerns, TT2 said there were costs associated with unpaid tolls and that it had transitional rules in place to help people get used to the new payment methods.

A spokesperson said: “In terms of payment terms, drivers have until midnight the day after their trip to pay for their trip, which is the same as all open road toll systems in the UK.

“This delay is meant to encourage people to pay soon after their trip before they forget. Research has shown that a longer payment delay increases the risk that people forget because payment is a lower priority.

“Regarding signage, we have installed many temporary signs during road works at the north and south entrances.

“They spell out that a toll is payable, how much it will be, when it needs to be paid, how to make payment (in cash, over the phone or online) and the consequences if payment is not made.

“We direct all customers to our website where we have an entire section on ‘Using the Tunnels’ and encourage them to take the free prepaid account which entitles them to ten percent off every trip, no matter the route. frequency of use.”

Tyne Tunnel owner Transport North East has previously said it clearly states the timeline and TT2 staff must follow existing appeal rules.

He also said he was confident that a fair system for adjudicating appeals was in place.

You can see what the owners of Tyne Tunnel, Transport North East said in full by clicking here

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