Last week, I met with the Chief Exec and Operations Manager of Tyne Tunnel 2 to raise concerns following a spike in complaints about the tunnel operators since the introduction of the controversial “pay later” scheme.

I have to agree with many of the complaints, I believe that the payment instructions could be clearer. The ticket states a date and a time however, if you wait until the date shown, it’ll be too late and you’ll incur a £30 fine, I can see how many people are easily misunderstanding what the ticket says.

During the meeting, I asked the Chief Executive, Phill Smith if he could look at other options and suggested changes should be made to the wording on the tickets to make it clearer.

Furthermore, I learnt about plans for the tunnel to remove the barriers completely in a new system called Open Road Tolling.  This would mean that there would be no barriers and payments will need to be made either using an online account or the pay later option. Tyne Tunnel 2 say this would increase tunnel capacity, reduce carbon emissions and mean more a more reliable and quicker journey through the tunnel.

However, I again expressed concern that more drivers may receive fines, as the onus would be on drivers to remember to pay the toll as under the new system, they would not receive a ticket which in many cases acts as a reminder. I also asked what facilities have TT2 put in place to support those drivers who do not have access to the internet, in order to pay their toll charge. It was explained that drivers who do not have smart phones or access to the internet could pay their toll at shops who have a PayPoint facility.

I feel many constituents’ pain and frustration. Many people have told me that the current system of pay later is confusing and lacks clarity, I agree and will continue to seek a resolution to this matter.