Mersey Gateway Toll explained: How to pay the Merseyflow charge
Information on how to pay the Mersey Gateway Toll, and what to do if you want to appeal a fine
Road charges are a rarity on UK roads, but the latest one to be launched is the Merseyflow toll crossing, which is part of the Mersey Gateway transport scheme. The key part of this project is the Mersey Gateway Bridge, which opened in October 2017 and has been built east of the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge to ease congestion in this region of north-west England.
Both bridges cross the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal, and link the north and south sides of the Borough of Halton in Cheshire. With the opening of the Mersey Gateway, a toll charge was introduced with the new bridge, and it will also be applied to the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge, once upgrade works are completed on it by March 2018.
Because these toll bridges are the only crossings of the Mersey between Liverpool in the west and Warrington in the east - they connect the towns of Widnes and Runcorn - local residents who live in the Borough of Halton can apply for an electronic windscreen sticker that qualifies them for free crossings, subject to a £10 annual administrative fee.
Mersey Gateway Toll charges
The Mersey Gateway Bridge opened on 14 October 2017, and the tolls have have been in place since then. The toll charges are in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so if you use the crossing at any time of the day, you will have to pay a toll. The charges vary depending on what you are driving, and are broken down as follows:
- • Class 1: Motorcycles: Free
- • Class 2: Cars/vans and CVs under 3.5 tonnes/8-seat minibuses: £2
- • Class 3: Lorries 3.5-12 tonnes/minibuses under 5 tonnes: £6
- • Class 4: HGVs (over 12 tonnes)/Coaches (over 5 tonnes): £8
You can pay the toll in advance of your crossing, or you have until midnight of the following day to pay.There are discounts available if you register with Merseyflow, the company that manages the charges. Register and pay the one-off fee of £5, and you can get 10 per cent off unregistered tolls. So you pay as follows:
- • Class 2: Cars/vans and CVs under 3.5 tonnes/8-seat minibuses: £1.80
- • Class 3: Lorries 3.5-12 tonnes/minibuses under 5 tonnes: £5.40
- • Class 4: HGVs (over 12 tonnes)/Coaches (over 5 tonnes): £7.20
Another option for Class 2 vehicles is to buy a monthly pass. There are two types on offer, the Unlimited travel pass that allows you to do exactly that for £90 a month, or there's the Off-peak pass. This costs £60, but you can't use the bridges during rush hour, which is between 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm, Monday to Friday.
Mersey Gateway toll exemptions
As mentioned, local residents who live in the Borough of Halton can benefit from free crossings, as long as they meet the qualifying requirements. They must:
• Live in a property in Halton that is registered in Council Tax Bands A-F (there are also special concessions for certain residents in Bands G & H properties).• Hold a valid UK driving licence.• Be the keeper of a vehicle that is registered to an address in Halton. Again, if you lease a vehicle or run a company car, equivalent proof will be required.• Local residents will then receive an electronic tag that sticks to the inside of the windscreen behind the rear-view mirror which can be detected by sensors on the bridges. As with other modern toll charge systems like the Dartford Crossing and London C-Charge, there are no toll booths to pay at, and the onus is on the driver to ensure the toll is paid.
If you are a Blue Badge holder, you can make unlimited crossings once you have registered and paid a one-off £5 admin fee.
If you fail to pay the Merseyflow charge before midnight on the day after you use the crossing, you will be liable to a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). This is fixed at £40, although it's only £20 if you pay the PCN within 14 days. There is an appeal process which passes through the Merseyflow team first, then to an independent adjudicator should the initial outcome be considered unsatisfactory.
It might seem like an uphill struggle if you are trying to get an appeal heard, but remember that more than half of all PCN appeals are successful for the motorist, while most cases are closed within three weeks.
Are you affected by the Mersey Gateway changes? Do you feel the tolls are fair or justified? Let us know below.