Midlands Expressway slammed for M6 Toll rises
Charges to use Birmingham’s M6 Toll road are to rise across the board from the end of July, prompting concerns that this will drive more HGVs through Birmingham.
The new toll charges will apply from 6am on 30 July 2018 and will see prices rise 30p-50p for cars, and by 10p-30p for light goods vehicles. Prices will rise by 20p-50p for HGVs (depending on the journey made) and will remain the same for night time journeys for all light and heavy goods vehicles.
Midlands Expressway is also trialling a new ‘Hopper’ for local drivers that will offer a new weekly maximum price of £20 for unlimited eligible journeys – this would more than half the cost for a driver using the M6 toll for return journeys five days a week.
The increases come as Midlands Expressway said traffic on the M6 Toll road had increased 4.7% last year to 18.3 million drivers.
The price increases have come under fire from the AA.
President Edmund King said: “This is a toll hike too far. A 50p or 8.5% increase for car drivers driving on the M6 Toll during working hours in the week will hardly encourage further usage. The objective should be to spread the congestion load from the current M6 rather than to deter drivers through higher prices.
“The M6 Toll was originally planned as a free public highway (Birmingham Northern Relief Road) with an objective of reducing chronic congestion in the West Midlands. However the pricing policy means it has always been under-used and never meet the original targets.
“Whilst a trial of more incentives for local drivers is welcome, the long-distance drivers are unlikely to stump up the extra cash to use this road.”
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) also highlighted the possible impact on Birmingham’s planned clean air zone.
Chris Yarsley, FTA’s policy manager for the Midlands, said: “While the toll increase is within inflation, the alternatives are free, so it will encourage more long-distance movements to use the traditional M6 through Birmingham. The M6 is a key route for UK logistics, and more effort should be made to encourage freight operators to utilise the tolled route away from the urban centre.”