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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Hundreds of motorists get 'fines' after M50 toll glitch

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

Published 29/03/2014 | 02:30

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Paul Fitzgerald, CEO of Tolltag with Philip Hayes, chief technical officer
Paul Fitzgerald, CEO of Tolltag with Philip Hayes, chief technical officer

HUNDREDS of customers of toll company Tolltag were told to pay a fine for failing to pay an M50 toll last weekend because of a systems problem at the company.

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Customers of Tolltag who travelled on the M50 last Saturday evening and early on Sunday have been receiving penalty notices for non-payment of the toll.

The letters from eFlow, the arm of the National Roads Authority that administers the M50 tolling system, advise them they owe €3.10 for using the road and another €3 fine for non-payment.

It also warns that a further fine of €41 will kick in if they fail to pay up by April 6.

However, the problem arose out of a systems failure by Tolltag, one of several companies that offers customers discounted rates on M50 tolls if they sign up for a billing account.

Tolltag chief executive Paul Fitzgerald said that a systems problem at their end resulted in the wrong data being sent to eFlow, meaning its customers were not listed as having a tagging account to qualify for automatic payment of tolls.

PROBLEM

They had spotted the problem quickly and rectified it by Sunday morning and had advised eFlow of the problem so customers did not have to pay any fine, he said.

Most customers would not even have received the penalty notices as eFlow was advised of the problem early enough to prevent most letters being issued.

It was too early to quantify how many customers had wrongly received penalty notices but it was "likely to be a couple of hundred", he said.

"Even if people are away on holidays, as may be the case for some of those using the M50 at the time concerned, and do not see these letters for a few weeks, they will not be liable for any fines as a result of this," he said.

Tolltag has around 40,000 tolling customers, but not that many of them would have travelled on the M50 in the short period during which the technical problem lasted, Mr Fitzgerald said.

Some motorists attempting to use their tag to pay at other toll booths on motorways around the country would also have been declined as a result of the systems problem, but they would have then had to pay cash to travel so there would be no further liability for them.

Tolltag is part of the Park Magic Company, which also operates a parking payments system for on-street and off-street parking in many cities.

Irish Independent

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