Tyne Tunnel toll set to increase by up to 50p from May

The increase was set to come into force in February but delayed until May to avoid adding financial burden on households struggling with the cost of living crisis. Credit: NCJ Media

Drivers have been warned that the cost of driving through the Tyne Tunnel is due to increase from next week.

New tolls which come into force on Monday 1 May will see the price of using the tunnel go up by as much as 50p.

The class two vehicle toll which is for car drivers is increasing from £1.90 to £2.20, while the class three toll for HGVs will rise from £3.90 to £4.40.

Members of the North East Joint Transport Committee were told there was "no option" but to increase the tariff by Tyne and Wear councils. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees News

The increase was approved last November but delayed until May to try and avoid adding to the financial burden on households struggling during the cost of living crisis.

Tunnel operator TT2 said the rise was necessary to cover the running and maintenance costs of the tunnels, and to repay the costs of the construction of the second tunnel.

Drivers who use a pre-paid account to pay their tunnel tolls will continue to receive a 10% discount on their prices - meaning the car toll would be £1.98 and the HGV toll £3.96.

When the price increase was confirmed last year, councillors were told that it would cost £1.5m to delay the hike until May and that a continued freeze beyond that would leave local authority cash reserves at an "unacceptable level".

Members of the North East Joint Transport Committee were informed that there was "little or no option" but to increase the tariff because the five Tyne and Wear councils, which jointly own the tunnel, are contractually obliged to make inflation-tied payments to TT2.

However, it provoked concerns that struggling families would be hit the hardest.

South Tyneside councillor Ernest Gibson said the burden was being put on people who "cannot afford" the increase while Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson said it was "the wrong thing to do".

North Tyneside deputy mayor Carl Johnson said that the councils had been left "between a rock and a hard place" and would not have increased the toll if they were not obliged to.

Since 2021, the tunnel's traditional toll booths and barriers have been removed - with the crossing now using a cashless payment system instead, with cameras registering the number plates of vehicles passing through.

Motorists must now pay their toll either online, with a pre-paid account, over the phone, or in shops that have PayPoint counters.

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