Monday 19 February 2018

Half of all Northern drivers still not paying M50 tolls

Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan

ALMOST half of drivers from the North using the M50 motorway are still refusing to pay tolls despite the signing of a new cross-border agreement.

These drivers have escaped 2.2 million toll payments since the barrier-free tolling section of the motorway was introduced in 2008 -- at a cost of up to €5m to the State in lost revenue.

And they are still holding out on signing up for toll payment accounts despite the introduction of a cross-border enforcement agreement last March.

The National Roads Authority (NRA) said it was now contacting all drivers in the North who had unpaid tolls to warn them that they would face fines if they did not start paying up.

At the Dail Public Accounts Committee, the NRA's Hugh Creegan said its focus was on getting drivers to set up accounts. "Chasing every last toll user is an inefficient use of resources," he said.

Mr Creegan said he believed the compliance rate among drivers from the North was improving, with 55pc agreeing to set up accounts.

But they will not have to pay for unpaid tolls incurred before the cross-border agreement was put in place, because this is not legally possible.

Under the agreement, drivers here will also have to pay speeding and parking fines received in the North -- fines they were previously able to avoid.

The committee heard that the barrier-free tolling system on the M50 is able to identify 99.5pc of all vehicles passing through.

Around three-quarters of motorists have signed up for payment accounts, with the remainder using the pay-as-you-go system.

Fianna Fail TD Darragh O'Brien said the M50 had been transformed by its upgrade.

But Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming criticised the shortage of service area stops on the new €16bn national motorway network.

Irish Independent

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