Thursday 18 January 2018

Toll barriers costing transport firms thousands in fuel

JEROME REILLY

Toll road barriers are costing hundreds of thousands of euros in wasted diesel with a knock-on impact on the environment.

One transport company claims it would save €24,000 a year on diesel costs if barriers were removed from toll plazas on the M1 alone.

Monaghan-based firm Matthews Coach Hire have calculated that each time they stop at a toll barrier it costs them an extra 99c in fuel.

The company -- which operates a high-frequency commuter service to Dublin from the north-east -- has been recognised nationally as leaders of best practice in energy management

"Our company's vehicles are equipped with on-board telematic systems, which monitor fuel use," said the firm's fleet manager Noel Matthews.

"We've calculated that slowing down from cruising speed and starting up again over a two kilometre stretch uses 0.6 litres of extra fuel on each of our 2,000 trips a month.

"We are looking at almost €2,000 per month -- that's €24,000 every year -- just for stopping to pay a toll electronically. And with fuel costs increasing, this could be at least €30,000 next year," he said.

Mr Matthews said every transport company in the State uses tolls at some stage and huge sums of money are being wasted by having unnecessary stops on stretches of motorways when barrier-free tolling clearly works.

Matthews reduced its annual energy bill by more than €80,000 by training staff to drive in a eco-friendly style.

"As an organisation, we review fuel usage daily. Exceptions are acted upon and drivers get feedback by phone and text message," said Noel.

"The telematic system automatically identifies fuel usage by individual drivers for feedback after each shift.

"It means that fuel usage has been cut from average consumption of 30 litres per 100km in 2008 to 27 litres per 100km this year.

"Three litres every 100,000km may not sound a lot -- but for a company that travelled 3.5 million kilometres in 2011, this would represent further savings of 105,000 litres."

Matthews, founded by Paddy Matthews in 1998, was the only Irish transport company to win a contract at the London Olympics.

It is also the only company in Ireland to have had "Alcolocks" installed on its fleet. The device immobilises an engine if a driver is over the drink-driving limit.

Sunday Independent

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