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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December, 2003, 15:16 GMT
M6 Toll figures 'encouraging'
One of the first users of the M6 Toll paying at a booth
The M6 Toll cost about 900 million to build
The managing director of Britain's first pay-as-you-go motorway said he was pleased with the number of vehicles that used the road in its first full week of operation.

Tom Fanning said the M6 Toll, which offers motorists an alternative to the heavily-congested M6 around Birmingham, attracted an average of 34,612 vehicles a day between 14 and 20 December.

The figure equates to nearly 20% of the 180,000 vehicles that normally use the M6 on average each day in the West Midlands.

Drivers must pay between 2 and 10 to use the toll road, depending on their vehicle and the time of day.

'Early days'

Mr Fanning, managing director of Midland Expressway Ltd (MEL), which runs the M6 Toll, said: "We are pleased with the traffic levels in our first week of opening.

Map of the M6 Toll
The road is designed to relieve congestion around Birmingham
"I have said all along that we expect demand to grow steadily over time, and it's still very early days, but we have already seen a lot of local and through traffic on the road and the uptake so far is encouraging."

The figures were compiled by Macquarie Infrastructure Group, the Australian-based company that owns 75% of MEL.

The figures did not specify what proportion of vehicles were cars, lorries or vans, or the individual daily usage.

MEL began a phased opening of the road to local users on 9 December, before opening fully on 14 December.

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