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Tolls rise will drive cars off roads - AA

MOTORISTS will be forced off the country's tolled roads in even greater numbers when prices go up in January, the AA warned.

INCREASES of 10c are to be added to the costs, piling more misery on drivers travelling to and from work on motorways like the M50.

The hikes on the country's 11 tolled roads are being justified because of rises in the cost of living.

The AA's Conor Faughnan slammed the decision as "absolutely ridiculous" and said more and more drivers will end up using already congested alternative routes.

But he absolved the present Government from blame, saying the hikes are built into pre-existing contracts.


"It's deeply frustrating and it will annoy motorists. People are livid about it. Every tolled scheme we have had in the country has failed us, some more spectacularly than others," Mr Faughnan said.

He pointed to the example of the M3 motorway, which, he said, is so empty "you could practically take off on it".

"Drivers are not using it. They are ignoring it in their droves," he added.

As a result, the Government is paying compensation to the operators because no-one is using it, he added.

"Everything the AA ever said about tolls has proved to be correct," Mr Faughnan said.

"To his credit, Leo Varadkar said there will be no additional tolls in Ireland on his watch," he told the Herald.

But Fianna Fail transport spokesman Timmy Dooley said the Government is allowing the increases to happen and they should "move to prevent" them.

"Motorists are under inordinate pressure. It's a further burden making the life of the motorist almost unbearable," Mr Dooley said.

Tolls are unlikely to increase in the Dublin Port Tunnel.

The hikes will add to the problems of hundreds of thousands of commuters who already have to deal with soaring fuel prices and other costs.

Petrol prices have risen by 20c since October last year.

The National Roads Authority says the toll on Dublin's M50 is expected to rise by 10c from January 1.