More than two million journeys have been made across the Mersey Gateway bridge in its first month of operation, toll operator Merseyflow has said.
The bridge opened to traffic just after midnight on Saturday 14 October. As of 1am on Tuesday 14 November, an average of 72,000 vehicles had used the bridge every weekday, with more than 95% of users having registered their vehicles with Merseyflow or paying for their crossing within the payment deadline. Merseyflow said that 70% of journeys made were in registered vehicles.
David Parr, chief executive of Halton Borough Council and the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: “The new Mersey Gateway bridge has been really popular. More than two million vehicles have used the bridge in total, which is over and above what we expected, and shows that people are enjoying the quicker, easier and more reliable journeys the bridge brings.”
Anthony Alicastro, chief executive of Emovis, which runs Merseyflow, added: “The best piece of advice we can give to anyone who uses the bridge regularly is to register for discounts as this means you get cheaper journeys and don’t have to pay each time.”
The tolling system has attracted criticism, with some expressing surprise at the lack of toll booths, while others have said technical issues while trying to pay meant them receiving penalty notices. Around 50,000 penalty charge notices were issued in the first month.
When the Silver Jubilee Bridge reopens after maintenance, it will also be tolled, meaning drivers will face a long journey for a toll-free crossing.
Alicastro said: “For anyone that does receive a penalty charge notice, our advice is to deal with it as quickly as possible as you get a 50% discount – reducing the charge to £20 plus the original toll fee – if you pay within 14 days. The PCN also contains details of how you can challenge the payment if you feel it has been sent in error.”
Registration with Merseyflow is possible online, by phone or at a walk-in centre in Runcorn.