Page last updated at 18:29 GMT, Thursday, 5 February 2009

Mersey Tunnel tolls are 'frozen'

Tunnel entrance
The price freeze will run until 31 March next year

Tolls for the Mersey Tunnels have been temporarily frozen due to the economic climate, transport bosses announced.

Car drivers using the Queensway and Kingsway tunnels, which run beneath the River Mersey between Liverpool and Wirral, currently pay 1.40 each way.

Operator Merseytravel said the price freeze was to ease financial difficulties in the recession.

The Passenger Transport Authority (PTA) decided to maintain the current prices until 31 March 2010.

The announcement comes a year after the PTA voted to increase tolls by 10p for cars from 1.30 to 1.40.

We hope people appreciate what we are trying to do with these prices freezes
Cllr Mark Dowd, Merseytravel chairman

The Mersey Tunnel Users Association launched a campaign against the proposed increase and lobbied MPs to oppose the tolls.

Councillor Mark Dowd, chairman of Merseytravel, said: "We appreciate the difficulties facing many people, particularly during the current climate, and we know we have a responsibility to support them as much as we can through this difficult time.

"By maintaining all of the tunnel toll charges at their current levels we can only help the vast majority of people using the tunnels for private or commercial reasons.

"We have financial pressures but we hope people appreciate what we are trying to do with these prices freezes."

However, new tolls will be introduced after March 2010.

Many local motorists want to see tolls completely axed, at least for local residents who use the tunnels every day.

Since Queensway opened in 1933 and Kingsway in 1971, the cost has risen from 10p each way for a standard car to 1.40.

John McGoldrick of the Mersey Tunnel Users Association said: "The tolls are an economic liability for this region in good times as well as bad. We have been paying tolls for over 75 years and they should have been removed long ago."

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