FTA Ireland has hit out today at the proposed toll increases on routes across Northern Ireland saying that “there is no justification for an increase on the motorway tolls;” and added that a rise in tolls now will exacerbate motorway avoidance.
Neil McDonnell – FTA Ireland General Manager stated:
“Toll increases for commercial users are entirely unnecessary and may prove counter-productive. Toll-road operators should be discussing with us ways to discourage motorway avoidance instead of putting up tolls further.”
From this week Irish lorries using the roads in Northern Ireland are required to pay a road toll of €13 (£10) per day, while UK-registered lorries are not. Truckers have also been told that they must pay toll increases on many of the State’s new motorways. Some routes – including the N4 Kinnegael – Kilcock motorway the toll will rise by 10 cent to €7.10 for a four axle lorry.
FTAI further pointed that that timing of the increase was completely wrong and that instead this was when the National Road Authority (NRA) should be considering measures to remove HGVs from towns and villages and onto the motorways.
Mr McDonnell added:
“There has already been substantial evidence of avoidance of tolls by commercial traffic as demonstrated during the “toll holiday” in November 2013. NRA traffic statistics show an increase in traffic density across the motorway network, improvements in the overall economy are giving the toll operators increased revenues already.
“On behalf of the freight and logistics industry – FTA Ireland is appealing to PPP operators not to increase tolls for commercial traffic, even where they are contractually permitted to do so. Such increases are likely to prove revenue-negative for them, as they increase the level of toll avoidance by commercial operators.”