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Author Topic: Severn Bridge tolls  (Read 25840 times)
SDS
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2010, 07:18:24 pm »

Surprised they don't get that new Contactless payment system which Barclaycard seem to be advertising a lot.
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inspector_blakey
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2010, 08:14:34 pm »

From experience here in the US where many debit cards have a contactless chip, it's not much quicker than using the magnetic stripe (the technological advance of chip and pin has yet to make it to these shores!) - the bulk of the time is taken up with dialling through to the card company and receiving authorization.

As an aside, the bridge tolls certainly are encouraging people to use the train - I know some dyed-in-the-wool car users in Bristol who always take the train for trips to Cardiff because the station's conveniently located and the train fare works out significantly cheaper than driving when you factor in fuel, toll and parking.
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devon_metro
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« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2010, 12:34:09 am »

Surprised they don't get that new Contactless payment system which Barclaycard seem to be advertising a lot.

Only really useful if you have the appropriate barclays/lloyds contactless cards.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2010, 05:46:20 pm »

From the BBC:

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'Confusion' as card payments on Severn Bridge suspended

Card payment machines installed on the Severn crossings in time for the Ryder Cup have been withdrawn.

Drivers entering Wales have recently been able to use plastic instead of cash to pay the ^5.50 toll.

But UK Transport Minister Theresa Villiers has confirmed the removal of the devices while work is carried out to improve the system and reduce congestion.

Newport East MP Jessica Morden said the move had caused "confusion".

Temporary machines will be in use from next week with permanent ones introduced in the new year. The hope is the revised system will not require drivers to input their pin numbers.

Ms Morden told the House of Commons: "The facility enabling people to pay with credit and debit cards - for which I was grateful - was introduced in time for the Ryder Cup, only to be whisked away again the minute the event was over. That has caused confusion. My constituents would like to pay by modern methods, which is fair enough. Can the minister assure me that an end to the situation is in sight?"

Mrs Villiers said the initial systems were put in place to tie in with the start of the tournament. She said: "We considered it important to meet the deadline, given the significance of the event. The temporary scheme has been withdrawn for the moment, but is due to be back in operation on Friday next week. That gives us a chance to do some more work in order to make it more efficient, but there will be further work to make it more efficient still. We hope to introduce a system in the new year that will not require PINs. The temporary system does require them, and that causes delays and adds to congestion."

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said they were "disappointed" the card payment machines had been temporarily removed. "This will cause unnecessary confusion to commuters who have benefited from their installation since the run up to the Ryder Cup. We would urge both the bridge operators and the Department of Transport to reinstall card payment machines on the Severn crossing as soon as possible."
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
LiskeardRich
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« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2010, 08:31:11 pm »

i cross regularly, andthink debit cards are needed, but wont it slow traffic down,
i find the 50mph average camera zone after the bridge towards Newport is stupid, fair enough during peak, but not off peak
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2010, 09:02:24 pm »

From the BBC:

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Severn river tolls rise 20p for cars and 80p for HGVs

Car drivers will pay 20p more to use the two Severn crossings from next year, with the toll rising to ^5.70.

Toll increases for the Severn bridges in January were announced to MPs on the Welsh Affairs Select Committee by the UK Transport Minister Mike Penning.

Van drivers will pay 60p more than the current ^10.90, and HGV tolls will rise by 80p to ^17.20.

Two transport firms which spend more than ^200,000 on tolls between them say they had hoped for a toll freeze.

The tolls are linked to inflation but Mr Penning said there would be no extra rise despite the increase in VAT.

He told the committee that queuing onto the Second Severn Crossing affects the Welsh economy.

Mike Penning said that while he did not think that the tolls themselves had a negative affect on Wales' economy, he thought more should be done in order to minimise the time motorists have to queue to pay their tolls.

He said: "The queuing and the congestion does affect the economy, there's no doubt about that, because it's all to do with perception."

There have been calls to introduce card payment machines on the tolls as well as using technology so that motorists can pay online before arriving at the tolls.

Mike Penning said that the way the original contract with the Severn River Crossing (SRC) company was "very restrictive" on what the UK government could do.

Mr Penning said: "This particular contract makes it difficult to absorb technology" but insisted the UK government would be working with SRC to change the agreement.

This could involve the UK government compensating the company for any extra money they would have to spend to introduce any new technology.

A spokewoman for Caerphilly-based Glenside Commercials and Llanelli-based Owens Transport Services said the firms' spending on tolls "will obviously increase in the wake of the rise in January".

Katherine Williams-Davies said: "In view of the Welsh Assembly Government looking at the impact of the tolls on the Welsh economy and the current enquiry by the Welsh Affairs Committee, we were hopeful that there would be a freeze on the tolls this year. Transport costs for most companies just keep rising. We all have to pay the increases in fuel duty and road fund licences if we want to keep our vehicles on the road and to also have to bear the added burden of year-on-year rises in the cost of the Severn tolls just adds to the pressure."

Last week the Welsh MPs committee heard the tolls on both Severn crossings should be much cheaper once the concession to run them ends in 2017.

Severn Crossing Plc General Manager Jim Clune said only maintenance and running costs would need to be covered after that date.

Mr Clune told MPs the tolls cost ^15m a year to run and maintain, but generate a net revenue of ^77m a year at today's prices.
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
Sprog
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« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2010, 09:29:27 pm »

**** off!!!

I have a Van and i already cringe at paying 10.90.

I am simply NOT going to pay 11.50. It is a total rip off and totally unjustified despite what all of the corrupted MPs and company directors state..... it should be a non-profit company plain and simple. They should not be allowed to monoploise the entry to wales.

I will be driving via Glocuseter in future...happily clogging up the M5, congesting the roads in Gloucester and the A48 down to the Couldra. B*****ks to it............
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bignosemac
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« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2010, 10:41:44 pm »

It's pretty much a non-profit company. No-one is making oodles of money out of the Severn River Crossings PLC (Except maybe the banks who furnished the original loans!) In 2008 the PLC made a net loss of ^4.1m and in 2009 it made a net profit of ^4.2m. As far as I can tell from the company accounts available online, it has not once paid a dividend to shareholders.

The income generated from the tolls is used to pay off the capital costs of building the 2nd Severn Crossing, (^330m) paying off the debt on the 1st bridge (^122m) as well as maintaining the two crossings and covering running costs for the concession period of a maximum of 30 years. The concession granted to cover these costs was valued at ^995,830,000 and began on 26th April 1992. All figures expressed in July 1989 prices.

The current forecast is that the two crossings will revert to public ownership in early 2017. This being the date when Severn River Crossings PLC believe they will have reached the allowed cumulative revenue figure of ^995,830,000. So, yes, it could be argued that tolls are too high as the cumulative revenue figure looks likely to be reached 5 years early - however tolls have only increased in line with the Retail Price Index. Even when European legislation forced the UK to add VAT to bridge tolls, the Secretary of State and Severn River Crossings PLC structured a refinancing of the concession to avoid huge increases in tolls when VAT became payable.

Once reverted to public ownership the Secretary of State can continue to levy tolls for a further 5 years; the legislation is unclear as to whether the tolls should be only levied to cover running costs and maintenance. After 5 years new legislation will be required to continue levying tolls, or the bridges' costs could be met by general taxation like the rest of the highways.
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2010, 11:57:06 pm »

i always found it interesting how in some cases like this this type of vehicle was classed the same as a medium goods vehicle yet where speed limits are concerned they can do the same speeds as cars 
incorrect if their gross weight is over 2 tonnes which i believe they do they are limited to a lower speed limit, i discovered this when i got done driving a a SWB transit, the police officer explained to me at the time that lower limits apply to any vehicle over 2 tonnes!!!!  the officer said many transit drivers get caught out
the limits for vehicle with gross over 2 tonnes  but less than 7.5 tonnes are as follows:
single carriageway 50 mph (60 cars)
dual carriageway 60mph (70 cars)
motorway 70mph same as cars!!!

info can be found here towards the bottom, 
http://www.smartdriving.co.uk/Driving/DefensiveDriving/Speed/UK_Speed_limits.html
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bignosemac
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« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2010, 10:18:45 pm »

From the BBC:

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Welsh MPs suggest ^1.50 Severn Crossings tolls for cars

Tolls should be slashed on the Severn Crossings to as little as ^1.50, once they revert to public ownership, says a group of MPs. Reductions to a fifth are proposed by the Welsh Affairs Committee from 2017 and it wants the toll cut "at the earliest opportunity".

The tolls, which rise for cars on the M4 and M48 to ^5.70 in January, are called a "barrier to business".

Severn River Crossing Plc has been asked to comment.

The Welsh Affairs Committee makes a host of recommendations, including concessions for some businesses.

The tolls are charged on both the M4 and M48 motorways as vehicles cross into Wales.

The old Severn Bridge opened in 1966, while the ^300m second Severn crossing opened 30 years later. The MPs said they cost ^15m a year to run and maintain but they raise ^72m in revenue.

The committee report, published on Wednesday, was commissioned to assess the impact the Severn Crossings toll has on the economy of south Wales and beyond. But the MPs found much evidence was anecdotal and now recommends harder evidence is gathered about the economic effects of the toll on both sides of the border.

'Cash cow'

Committee chair David Davies, the MP for Monmouth, said: "We are very concerned by anecdotal reports that the level of the toll has put some people off investing in Wales and more hard evidence must be gathered about their economic impact.

"Unfortunately, due to the inflexible provisions of the 1992 Severn Crossings Act, neither the government nor Severn Crossings Plc is able to freeze or reduce the toll without incurring significant costs." He also accused the company of being "pretty haphazard" in introducing modern payment technology, saying, in all likelihood, it "would not have happened at all if Wales had not hosted the Ryder Cup this year". Mr Davies added: "The antiquated payment system in place until then had given visitors to Wales a poor first impression of the country. The government should invest now in free-flow payment technology without delay and recoup the cost when the crossings transfer to public ownership at the end of the concession period in or around 2017. At the same time, tolling prices should be reduced and concessions for those who depend on the crossings for their livelihood could be introduced. The government must not be tempted to use the toll as a convenient 'cash cow'," he added.

The report said: "With running costs of ^15m a year, and a current yearly income of ^72m, we estimate that the toll could be reduced to a fifth of its current level, to approximately ^1.50 while allowing the crossings to remain self-financing. We recommend that the government should seek to reduce the level of the toll at the earliest opportunity."

The Welsh Affairs Committee heard last month that most of the money the tolls raise is used to cover debts.

Severn River Crossing Plc General Manager Jim Clune told MPs only maintenance and running costs would need to be covered after 2017.

The Welsh Affairs Committee Report into the Severn Tolls can be found here.
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Brucey
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« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2011, 09:17:05 am »

Is it still possible to pay the Severn Bridge toll by credit/debit card or was this just a trial run during the Ryder Cup?

I seem to be finding conflicting information online, including the slightly outdated "Cheque with a valid cheque guarantee card only" on the Severn River Crossing plc website.
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des5564
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« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2011, 08:02:01 pm »

They accept debit cards, used mine couple of weeks ago. Was reasonably quick and painless, not for boss hgv ^17.20!
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Brucey
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« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2011, 08:18:09 am »

Worked very well and reasonably fast (I suppose anything would seem fast after queuing for ten minutes to pay the toll)!  Made the whole ^5.70 experience much less painful.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2012, 10:40:13 pm »

From the BBC:

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Severn tolls 'damaging economy' claim as charges rise

Tolls on the Severn bridges have gone up again, prompting fresh criticism of their impact on the Welsh economy.

Charges are now ^6 for cars, ^12.10 for vans and ^18.10 for lorries, following the annual New Year increase.

Some MPs want the UK government to discuss ways of reducing the charges with the private operator but others say it cannot be done.

Meanwhile residents of the Forest of Dean have called for discounts for people living near the crossings.

Martin Evans from the University of Glamorgan Business School told BBC Radio Wales the charges were having a negative impact on economic activity on the Welsh side of the crossings. "When you have a bridge with a toll across it, it is a restriction on economic activity on both sides," he said. "But in this instance we probably suffer more than the English side do."

He said a complicating factor was that although transport and economic development had been devolved to Wales, the UK government had responsibility for the bridges.

The crossing are due to pass into public ownership in five years' time.

Swansea West Labour MP Geraint Davies believes it is possible to lower the tolls now. He said: "It's a matter of the government sitting around the table. The bottom line is from 2017 we will be able to reduce the tolls from ^6 to around ^1 just to cover the operating and maintenance costs."

He said there was an incentive for the UK government to do so earlier as increased economic activity would result in higher taxes for the Treasury.

"What I think the government should do is firstly announce from 2017 there will be a substantial reduction once it goes into public ownership. The government could pay up front some of the money to get tolls down in order to reap the rewards sooner rather than later at a time when we urgently need inward investment."

Monmouth MP David Davies, who chairs the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, said its members had already made a number of recommendations about future charges. "The only way we could do it [drop charges now] would be to pay vast amounts of compensation to the company that built the bridge," he said. "Where I absolutely agree with Geraint is we can do something about this in 2017 because the original amount of money that was agreed for paying for the bridge will be paid off. Then we could go back to a much lower price."

Meanwhile residents living in the Tidenham and Tutshill areas of the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire are calling for a local discount following the annual toll rise.

John Powell from Tidenham parish council said: "For those in the parish who work over in Bristol and have to use the crossing it's an impingement on them. Recently one or our friends had to go to a Bristol hospital to have chemotherapy about three or four times a week for quite a considerable time and at ^6 a time it was a very, very expensive exercise from which you have no recourse to reimbursement of the costs."
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
devon_metro
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« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2012, 12:28:21 am »

Bet the divert via Gloucester doesn't even cost ^6 of fuel!!
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