Monday 17 June 2019

Millions lost in M50 tolls as cars from 38 countries flout the law

M50 (Stock photo)
M50 (Stock photo)
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

MORE than 1.3 million motorists use Dublin’s M50 every year without paying the toll, resulting in a loss to the State of more than €4m.

New figures show cars registered as far afield as Argentina, Canada, Korea and New Zealand have been recorded using the motorway for free.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), which operates the motorway, said there had been a “high volume” of enforcement activity last year, with 121 criminal convictions recorded and 40 cars seized in lieu of non-payment.

It also revealed cars registered in 38 countries, most from across Europe but also from the southern hemisphere, North and South America and Asia, had flouted the law.

In all, around 130,000 trips a day are made on the country’s busiest motorway. In terms of toll payments, there is a 97.3pc compliance rate.This suggests that around 3,500 trips are made every day without paying, or more than 1.27 million over the year.

The toll for an unregistered car, which must pay by 8pm the day after travel, is €3.10. Around €3.96m is lost every year through non-payment.

But a TII spokesman insisted that enforcement actions were taken. A firm called Euro Park Enforcement tries to collect tolls from foreign-registered vehicles, and action was taken where it made financial sense to do so. However, some Irish-registered motorists simply refused to pay.

“It’s a minority of people who continually violate,” he said.

“The figure of 97.3pc shows that people play by the rules and we have an enforcement system, which is very serious. There are people who are outside the bounds of the court, but we are going to go after them.

“From an international perspective, we rank among the best. Once you call in the sheriff and gets the courts involved, you’re exercising all the enforcement legislation.”

Last year, 184,000 notices were sent to motorists advising them to pay the toll. Some 15,000 claims were later sent, the first stage of enforcement action.

Legal proceedings were issued via registered post in another 6,510 cases, with 3,345 legal proceedings served on the motorist. Some 2,367 judgments were obtained in the courts.

Irish Independent

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