Halton consults on Gateway toll charges

Halton Borough Council has launched a three-week consultation to obtain views on proposed changes to the toll charges at the new Mersey Gateway bridge.

The toll system has attracted criticism, with complaints over a perceived lack of signage and a lack of clarity over charges since the bridge opened on 14 October last year. Motorists have appealed penalty charges, arguing that it had been unclear how they are supposed to pay on the free-flow, toll booth-free system.

The consultation does not consider the principle or levels of toll charging in itself – either for Mersey Gateway or, once it reopens next year, the Silver Jubilee Bridge, but includes a number of proposed changes, mostly around exemptions.

Changes include the widening of those groups entitled to register for exemption to toll charges, changes to the Halton Local User Discount economic hardship scheme, a new classification for motor homes, and the inclusion of a special circumstance for Halton residents that have a disability, but don’t qualify for Blue Badge status.

Making changes would be a legislative process, and Halton’s intention is to revoke The Mersey Gateway Bridge and the A533 (Silver Jubilee Bridge) Roads User Charging Scheme Order 2017, replacing it with a new order, called the A533 Mersey Gateway Bridge and the A557 (Silver Jubilee Bridge) Road User Charging Scheme Order.

The £600m bridge took three and a half years to build, and registration opened in July, ahead of its October opening.

The Merseyflow toll system is operated by Emovis, which encouraged all locals to register online or at the Merseyflow walk0in centre in Runcorn, saying that it would be possible to cross the bridge without registering but vehicles doing so would have to pay the full unregistered toll fee of £2 per car per crossing, with additional charges for larger vehicles.

The consultation document can be viewed online.

Your Comments

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Halton has created a huge economic barrier across the wider region and this consultation will have no significance whatsoever. With the closure of the old bridge, they have ensured that anybody, even marginally, outside of the Halton precincts is now having to pay to make a journey which has been free for generations.

By Ian Jones

The Council has been very bad in its implementation and “like it or lump it” attitude they have a monopoly on crossings in this area and have taken advantage of the situation.

By Gerry Pacemaker

I couldn’t agree more with Ian’s below comments. I used to travel through Widnes at least 4 times a week and the majority of the time I would stop off at the shopping centre whether to just get groceries or sometimes more substantial purchases.
Now I use the A56 and completely avoid the area.
Halton have well and truly shot themselves in the foot.

By Nick E

It’s probably just me but l think the bridge is in the wrong place. Should come off the end of the M57 across the estuary onto the M56

By D Walsh

I went to visit a client, it was the first time I’ve been over the new bridge, I couldn’t see anyway to pay a toll ????????????????
Yet in 6 mins I have been charged for not paying . This scheme is purely a money making one. I will be disputing this penalty charge, also if it is the case I will be getting charged every day I use the bridge I won’t bother working in the area affected. Halton council is going to cause problems with the local economy with this daft idea.

By Steve Sinnott

Visited the Halton area today via the A557 and after trying to find my way off the dual carriageway blocked by makeshift bollards I now learn that I’m due a penalty I didn’t see any toll road signage. It’s an absolute farce.

By Craig

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