Drivers threatened with debt collectors and court – for not paying £1.80 Tyne Tunnel fee

Trips via the Tyne Tunnel have ended with threats of court and debt collectors – over the £1.80 fee.

Several motorists have informed ChronicleReside that they have been informed to cough up a whole bunch of kilos for apparently not paying the toll on time.

All had used the ‘pay later’ system, launched final April. Drivers who cannot pay on the toll take a ticket, permitting them go via the barrier so long as they pay shortly after.

The Tunnel’s operator, TT2, insist the system works and is well-liked with the “overwhelming majority” of drivers. It is a part of plans to in the end do away with limitations to hurry-up site visitors and make journeys “seamless”.

However a Facebook group has fashioned, filled with disgruntled customers who declare the system is nothing however a cash making train for the Tunnel, which misplaced virtually £10 million in toll income as site visitors ranges dropped in the course of the pandemic.

And some, similar to Aimee Nightingale, declare a string of issues that they’ve encountered with the system imply they’re now within the hand’s of debt collectors – all for a journey that price lower than a Big Mac.

“When I acquired the ticket to pay, the reference quantity was non-existent, so how might I even pay it if it did not exist,” claimed the 32-yr-old, from Washington.

“That would not give anybody a good likelihood to pay, and it appears like a option to get more cash from individuals.

Aimee Nightingale who claims she has confronted a nightmare scenario over a £1.80 Tyne Tunnel fee

“The system actually is completely diabolical. I really feel that they we’ve got all been taken benefit of.”

TT2’s web site states anyone utilizing the service has “till midnight of the next day of your journey to make cost”.

If it is not paid then a advantageous of as much as £60 is issued. If that debt is not cleared on time, an extra £100 is added and debt collectors might change into concerned.

Several different drivers, who would not be named, additionally stated they’d skilled issues with seemingly non-existent reference numbers, creating an issue when it got here to settling the £1.80 debt.

However, based on Chris Ward, TT2’s operations supervisor, these points may very well be stemming from human error – or by making an attempt to settle the tab too late.

“We have seen no proof of individuals being unable to pay because of the ticket not being accepted,” he stated.

“What tends to come up is individuals placing within the incorrect particulars. For instance they are going to put in a G as a substitute of a 9.

“More generally the explanation it will not settle for is that they’ve tried to pay after the deadline. At that time, after the deadline, the system will not recognise the reference as a result of it’s exhibiting as a non-cost.”

Tyne Tunnel tolls.
Tyne Tunnel tolls.

Yet those that have fallen foul of late funds have confronted extreme penalties.

One Northumberland girl acquired a letter, seen by ChronicleReside, from a debt assortment agency providing her “one final alternative” to settle her debt with TT2.

If it did not, it warned that she may very well be hauled to court and even face chapter proceedings.

Previously we informed the story of NHS employee Isia Van Gils, who was fined and threatened with bailiffs for non-cost of a ticket.

Another girl, solicitor Jennifer Ford, was left outraged after she was hit with a £60 advantageous attributable to a system error left her unable to pay the charges. On that event, the cost deadline was prolonged.

Jennifer Ford
Jennifer Ford

One Tyneside businessman who was being chased for a number of hundred kilos informed us that he felt the pay later system was designed to “catch individuals out” and ought to be scrapped utterly.

“Replacing it with a card machine would actually resolve the problem and you’d be killing two birds with one stone,” stated the person, who once more requested not to be named.

“Not solely would you be Covid compliant, and not having a number of individuals contact a button for a ticket, however all this negativity goes away in a single day.”

For Aimee, and others, maybe the largest enchancment to the system TT2 might make could be to increase the deadline to pay the preliminary £1.80 – and cut back the chance of that spiralling.

“I believe that will make a very massive distinction,” she added. However, Mr Ward rejected each these recommendations.

While TT2 had explored contactless cost, card-primarily based methods beforehand proved “extraordinarily unpopular” with customers, whereas the development was to maneuver away from them because of the price – and additionally how a lot they slowed site visitors.

“We do really feel as if the pay later, and the free move system which we’re shifting in the direction of, is the long run,” he stated, including: “For the price, time and effort, it really wasn’t a worthwhile course of to enter.”

And as for extending the cost deadline, he felt there was no want, including that TT2 needed to be “constant” with different operators as extra and extra tolls transfer in the direction of methods with out limitations.

“Our analysis exhibits different operators working in any precisely the identical, and we predict it’s honest,” he stated, including that deadlines are printed on tickets with the scheme closely publicised on social media.

And he took exception to recommendations made by some disgruntled drivers that the system was designed to hit motorists within the pocket, including: “It is completely not a cash making train.”

But Aimee thinks in any other case. And as she continues to struggle eye-watering calls for which now whole virtually £900 admits: “I’m not utilizing the Tunnel anymore – It has been so dangerous, I’m simply driving the good distance round.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here