Saturday 10 December 2016

Time to replace old 'unfair' system

Published 06/10/2010 | 05:00

IN August 2008, the National Roads Authority (NRA) removed the toll booths on Dublin's M50 and made it the country's only barrier-free motorway.

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The new system gave motorists the option to open a pre or post-paid account or use a pay-as-you-go system.

Those with accounts (tags) pay €2 or €2.50 per trip, while pay-as-you-go customers pay €3.

The charge is applied at Blanchardstown, at Junction 6, and motorists who don't pass this point are not hit with a charge.

This means anyone travelling from Sandyford (Junction 14) to the N4 Galway Road (Junction 7) uses the road for free. The same applies to travellers from the airport (Junction 3) to the Ashbourne/Finglas exit (Junction 5).

The introduction of multiple-point tolling would change all that.

"The current system, where only motorists who go past the one point are tolled, is quite unfair," one source said.

"On the M50 you could have a series of tolls of, say, 75c each. This was suggested some years ago but was pushed back. It would be difficult to implement, and you'd probably need most people to have a tag because people won't remember how many tolling points they're going through.

"There's two reasons for it -- it's a traffic management measure in that you discourage people from hopping on and off the motorway and encourage them to use local roads. It also raises money quickly.

"About 110,000 people use the M50 every day. This would maximise the revenue. There's an element of fairness that might be more acceptable politically."

The NRA takes a tough stance on those who don't pay the toll. If not paid by 8pm the day after the journey is made, a fine of €3 is applied to the charge.

If the €6 isn't paid within 14 days, a charge of €39.50 is added. Failure to pay this total of €45.50 within 56 days results in an additional penalty of €98 -- a total of €143.50.

Irish Independent

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