Price freeze for HGVs on M6 Toll road
Goods vehicles will be exempt from new price increases on the M6 Toll announced by the road’s operator Midland Expressway Ltd (MEL) today.
MEL said an additional 40p will be added to daytime car toll prices from August 7, the first change it has introduced since March 2012, but prices for HGVs will remain unchanged at £11 for vehicles on weekdays (6am-11pm).
MEL said it is was focused on “making more effective use of the M6 toll for commercial, logistics and freight traffic”, whose usage of the M6 Toll has been growing by an average of 19% each year since 2012.
Andy Pearson, Chief Executive of MEL added: “We have always approached our pricing structure with very careful consideration to economic sensitivities and the impact on our customers and their businesses. This was part of the reason for holding tolls flat over the past five years.”
“The new prices are effectively a partial catch-up with inflation and are increasing by less than RPI over the same period. We remain committed to investing in our infrastructure to deliver an excellent customer experience and provide a high quality, free-flowing alternative to the congested M6.”
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said the move will be a boost for freight firms that operate on tight margins, but pointed out that the wider principle of road charging needs an urgent review by Government.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, said: “This is very welcome news for our members, as any increase in toll charges has a direct impact on their businesses. FTA wants to maintain dialogue with Midland Expressway to ensure an acceptable level of toll for freight operators is maintained, as this will make the route financially viable when the M6 is congested.
“However, it is vital that an alternative to the tolled route is always available and that route operators provide a minimum standard of service for the charge, including route availability in severe weather, effective breakdown assistance, minimum transit times and parking and rest facilities. Freight operators will expect value for money and compensation when the service falls short of promised standards.”
Ed Neely of Birmingham hauliers Neely Transport Ltd, which has 23 HGVs, said despite the price freeze his firm had no plans to use the M6 Toll motorway.
"We don't use it at all because it's extortionate, it's £11 to drive six miles. If they made it free to HGVs we would use it… until that time, it won't happen,” he told the BBC.
The M6 Toll opened in 2003 and cost £900m to build. The 27-mile route between Cannock and Coleshill in the West Midlands carries more than 53,000 vehicles per weekday on average, representing more than 60% of all through-traffic in the M6 corridor, with more than 90% of through-traffic using the M6 toll in peak periods and times of significant congestion. On average, overall traffic on the M6 toll has grown by 7.6% each year since 2012.
Posted on: July 7th 2017