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Dear Mr King



Thank you for your recent comments regarding the Tunnel Toll Fee’s.



We are aware of the online petition and have clarified publically that no decision has yet been made on the toll level from April 2014. This will be taken by elected members of Merseytravel’s Integrated Transport Authority in February.



The Tunnel Toll setting process is actually covered by a piece of legislation known as the Tunnels Act 2004, which was an amendment to the County of Merseyside Act 1980. In effect, the 2004 Act looks to formalise the toll setting process and is designed to ensure the following: -



• The level of toll remains in line with inflation and therefore remains broadly in line with other costs associated with cross river travel costs (bus and rail fares).

• The tolls cannot be increased above the rate of inflation, a commitment that not many organisations can make during these difficult financial times.

• The Tunnels do not become a burden on the local council tax payer.

• The income generated by the toll revenue is used to reduce the debt and fund the operation, maintenance and development of the Tunnels infrastructure.

• Any surplus funds remaining are then used for other transport related schemes across Merseyside as determined by our Local Transport Plan.



The current debt outstanding on the Tunnels infrastructure is scheduled to end in 2048. The 2004 Act makes reference to the process that should be adopted once the debt is repaid and confirms that the people of Merseyside will be fully consulted at that time in order to determine the nature of the tolls collection process.



I should stress that even after 2048; the Act does not indicate that tolls will be abolished. We have to recognise that there are significant costs associated with the operation, maintenance and development of the Tunnels and those costs must be met. We should also recognise that the two Tunnels are nearly 80 years old and 41 years old respectively, with continual upgrade and development required in order to ensure we can continue to operate both Tunnels and meet customer demand.



I hope this information helps you understand the background in a little more detail.



Yours sincerely



Sarah Walker



Customer Feedback Team

People and Customer Development



Merseytravel, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN

Email: [email protected]


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What's everyones opinion on this...


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If current debt outstanding on the Tunnels infrastructure is scheduled to end in 2048, why should there be any surplus at the moment ?

Taking into account maintenance etc.if there is surplus, it must also mean they are charging too much in tolls, enabling excess it to be to put toward other purposes.
That shouldn't be acceptable and figures would be interesting.

Right or wrong ??


Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
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Originally Posted by granny
If current debt outstanding on the Tunnels infrastructure is scheduled to end in 2048, why should there be any surplus at the moment ?

Taking into account maintenance etc.if there is surplus, it must also mean they are charging too much in tolls, enabling excess it to be to put toward other purposes.
That shouldn't be acceptable and figures would be interesting.

Right or wrong ??


In a word right!
Maybe the surplus should go to paying the debt off (ie quicker, less interest etc)
Also, if there was no tolls, running costs would fall - no booths, cashiers less admin etc.....
BUT would the ferries still survive? As I understand it, some of the surplus goes to keeping them running....

Just playing devils advocate with the above btw, personally don't think there should be any toll roads personally



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Originally Posted by bazzoh
Also, if there was no tolls, running costs would fall - no booths, cashiers less admin etc.....


I would imagine that manning the booths and dealing with the cash collected is a minute fraction of the running costs.

Perhaps a FOI request would produce this?

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2048? Great. Maybe by then we'll just be able to teleport across the river grin

What others have said is 100% spot on. If there's a 'surplus' then the tunnels are being mismanaged. IMO, the 1st rule of prudent economics is pay off your debts. As long as the tunnel has these debts then there should never be a 'surplus' mad

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Yeah I didn't like that line either:

Quote
Any surplus funds remaining are then used for other transport related schemes across Merseyside as determined by our Local Transport Plan.


No, I pay to use the tunnel. My money should go on that. I don't want to subsidise "other transport related schemes" that I don't know about or use.

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I do get a bit fed-up with the 'I don't want to pay for anything I don't use' brigade.

Part of a civilised society is the ability to look beyond the end of one's own nose and actually contribute for the good of society.

Half the financing for the Birkenhead Tunnel came from general taxation - including many without cars who will have never actually used the tunnel.

Between 1988 and 1992 losses on the Tunnels were paid from Local Authority rates. Again including contributions from those people who don't use the tunnels.

Any surplus at present goes to help subsidise (for example) evening and weekend bus services for those people who are not well-off enough to run a car or live in out of the way places.

When will people stop being selfish? I am lucky enough that my use of the NHS is minimal at present, but I am more than happy to properly fund it from my contributions and fight for its survival for those who need it.

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Originally Posted by markjw
I do get a bit fed-up with the 'I don't want to pay for anything I don't use' brigade.

Maybe the surplus could go to reimbursing the local authority!Why not?

Part of a civilised society is the ability to look beyond the end of one's own nose and actually contribute for the good of society.

Half the financing for the Birkenhead Tunnel came from general taxation - including many without cars who will have never actually used the tunnel.

Between 1988 and 1992 losses on the Tunnels were paid from Local Authority rates. Again including contributions from those people who don't use the tunnels.

Any surplus at present goes to help subsidise (for example) evening and weekend bus services for those people who are not well-off enough to run a car or live in out of the way places.

When will people stop being selfish? I am lucky enough that my use of the NHS is minimal at present, but I am more than happy to properly fund it from my contributions and fight for its survival for those who need it.


We are not being selfish. We have been led by ours noses over the last number of years into believing everything was for the best for all. Fine, but we now see how many companies, institutions have been fiddling the accounts for the benefit of themselves. Had it not been for Birkenhead MP Frank Field to ask for an investigation into Wirral Council, what would have continued? Had someone not blown the whistle on the banks laundering drug money, what would be continuing? If NHS started to charge, with annual increments and the surplus going to the MP's salaries, what would you think?
Why can one travel by rail in Italy, 100miles for about a fiver but not here? Same in Dubai by bus. Why are we called 'rip off Britain'? It is because too many for too long have tried to cheat the system and have not learnt the basics on bookkeeping and financial protocol. No wonder many of the general public wants to cheat the system, they've been led by example. Whilst everything seemed good, nobody asked questions. They paid up and shut up. Now we are paying the real price and we should be entitled to know exactly where our money goes and how.
Sorry if this sounds a bit s....y, but I suppose it is, although not with bad intent towards you Markjw.

Last edited by granny; 9th Jan 2014 12:06am.

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I agree with the points you make Granny.

But think about why services are now so poor and we get ripped off.

Rather than being run as services to the public with average wages and staffed by people at the top who were public servants, and took the lower pay for the status of providing a service and the security of their employment, what do we have now?

Private companies fed by the taxpayer (at the instigation of people who then go on the boards of these companies or accept their generous hospitality) who provide a poorer service for a higher price.

This goes back to a certain Conservative prime minister (I won't name names) who made pursuit of money and entitlement the cornerstone of her ethos.

The rest of us who look at fair taxation and rail against the demonisation of minority groups by the 'media' are laughed off as do-gooders as this selfishness is now ingrained from top to bottom in our society.

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Yes, agreed mostly... hence the continuous rise in the cost of living which doesn't affect the board members, just poor old Joe Bloggs. Trouble is, there's many a Joe at the moment and to constantly be affected by increase in this that and other, can in fact be very detrimental to health and no doubt cause more costs in other areas.
Can you justify commuters paying 5000 pounds a year to get to work in the South East? I don't think that is at all justifiable for anyone. Two working in a family 10,000 pounds per year! No wonder wages have had to go through the roof, which indirectly leads to everything else increasing in price. One big merry-go-round. Although wages are not fairly balanced throughout the country, I don't think.

p.s. I think I put an extra line in your post by mistake and it wouldn't let me change it. About the surplus reimbursing the local authority.


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Originally Posted by markjw
Half the financing for the Birkenhead Tunnel came from general taxation - including many without cars who will have never actually used the tunnel


It's a piece of national infrastructure. Just because someone doesn't have a car, doesn't mean they don't indirectly use the tunnels via e.g. the food that's delivered to their shops or benefit from the taxes paid "for the good of society" by workers who use the tunnels every day.

I've no issue with public transport being subsidised - in fact some of the best systems in the world are. What is unfair is that one particular group of people are singled out in order to provide that subsidy. It should come out of general taxation i.e. we all share the burden. How do other local transport authorities (e.g. Greater Manchester) cope without having a cash cow to milk for these subsidies? Presumably they share the burden a bit more fairly.

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Originally Posted by markjw
This goes back to a certain Conservative prime minister (I won't name names) who made pursuit of money and entitlement the cornerstone of her ethos.


Here we go again with the Thatcher bashing. Labour had plenty of time to change things from 1997 to 2010, but they didn't, because the country was in a fairly good state in 1997.

Their leader Blair even admitted to admiring Thatcher, or is that one aspect of history that Labour fans like to pretend never happened, along with Brown's failure as a PM and the Labour government's failure to deal with the unions of the 70's?

Thatcher's era is long past, let it go, unless you're willing to concede that subsequent parties and their leaders were equally as bad.


But, going back to tolls, how come that when the Runcorn bridges will be tolled, local residents will get 300 free trips a year, yet locals using the tunnel have to pay?

Last edited by Gibbo; 9th Jan 2014 10:07am.
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this is a small step towards the £2 levy to cross the river, by any means the tunnel, the NEW BRIDGE and the Runcorn bridge, bus and rail will join in
I feel a BIG protest should be made now, have a day where drivers drive at the MINIUMN speed of 10 mph for 24 hours, you only need about 20 pensioner to travel through the tunnel every 20 min, this will be longer as the day goes on, at 10 mph there and back. (sorry to regular users but this is to help you)


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