MOTORISTS using the M50 may soon be able to pay toll charges with a text message or their iPhone.
The move is on foot of feedback on the eFlow barrier-free tolling system.
The Herald has learned work is underway on new ways of making it easier for motorists to pay tolls on time.
Unregistered M50 users have until 8pm the day after their use the road to pay up online or in a designated store. But this has sometimes proved problematic for people going on long journeys or to the airport.
A spokesperson for eFlow said: "A lot of what we do is informed by customer feedback.
"We complete regular measures of our performance and get customers' views on things. That influences how we try to provide our service.
"One of the things that is often said is try and enhance the payment opportunities."
The toll system celebrated its second birthday this week by declaring that customer satisfaction was over 80pc after an extremely shaky start.
However, it still gets over 5,000 complaints a month in relation to disputed toll charges. The text message payment option will form part of its ongoing efforts to reduce that figure.
"Text messaging is very much, nowadays, a no-brainer. We've all seen the growth in the iPhone and Smartphone applications so it's very much something we want to do," said the spokesperson.
"It will happen in the short term but we're not going to rush it. We'll plan it and get it right.
"The process will happen as quickly as possible. The hope would be to advance it significant in the next year," he added.
It is expected that customers will register their car, mobile phone and bank details so that they can send a text message after driving under the gantry.
"The text goes and you've paid. With the applications it will be a bit like buying iTunes," noted the spokesperson.
"Another initiative being explored is a top-up option for tag customers that will work like a ready-to-go mobile phone," he said.
The average monthly traffic volume on the M50 now stands at three million vehicles -- making it the EU's busiest motorway based on population.
A total of 322,131 vehicles are now registered with eFlow's billing system.
There are 261,927 vehicles from the Dublin and Leinster area registered, an increase of 42pc in the past 12 months.