The charge to use the M6 Toll road from later this week will increase by up to 30p per journey.
From Friday 4 December, operators will hike the peak-hours weekday charge for those at the wheel of passenger cars to £6.90 – a rise of 20p – and weekend trips will jump from £5.60 to £5.90.
The latter is an inflation-busting rise of more than 5 per cent.
However, it is only car drivers who are to be stung with a charge increase, with rates for vans and trucks remaining unchanged as part of ‘support measures’ for businesses, it has been confirmed.
M6 Toll hike: From Friday 4 December, charges for car drivers to use the M6 toll road will rise by as much as 30p. However, vans and HGVs won’t be paying an inflated rate
The price hike for car drivers comes just 17 months after the motorway’s operator, Midlands Expressways Limited, increased the peak weekday charge by an 30p in July 2019.
Friday’s hike for peak fares is also higher than the rate of inflation, with the extra 20p hit on weekday trips a 3 per cent jump.
The higher charges for car drivers to use the motorway was confirmed by bosses earlier this month.
It said the price rise was ‘carefully considered’ and the result of a ‘detailed assessment’ by MEL’s management.
The operator added that any hike is part of an ongoing focus on ‘delivering high levels of customer service, reliability of journey time, flexible pricing models and products to suit the specific needs of drivers using the M6 Toll’.
It was estimated that more than 50,000 motorists use the M6 toll every day.
Motorists pay one of two different rates.
For ‘Class 2’ car drivers, peak-hour weekday charges to use the M6 Toll will rise by 20p. Off-peak ans night jounreys on weekdays will also go up by 10p, while weekend trips will be 30p more than before
The more expensive rate is called the ‘mainline’ price and is charged to those using the full length of the motorway, exiting via the north or south mainline plazas.
During peak hours of 7am to 7pm, the charge for car drivers will go up from £6.70 to £6.90 from Friday.
Off-peak journeys between 5am and 7am as well as 7pm to 11pm on weekdays are increasing by 10p to £6,70. Night journeys from 11pm to 5am are also going up by 10p to £4.30.
The cheaper rate is called the ‘junction’ price. This is for motorists exiting at a junction and not using the full length of the road.
This peak weekday charge is set to increase by 10p from £4.80 to £4.90.
The toll fee is discounted for journeys on Saturdays and Sundays, though these lower charges will also be hiked for car drivers only from Friday.
Midlands Expressways Limited, operator of the toll road, said prices would remain at 2019 levels for van and HGV drivers as part of ‘support measures’ for businesses
MEL clarified that there will be no change to rates paid by those at the wheel of vans and trucks as part of ‘support measures put in place for businesses’ to provide an ‘efficient and viable route for HGV and other commercial operators’.
Explaining why the charge is only being escalated for passenger cars, it said: ‘We remain committed to increasing the volume of HGV traffic using the M6 Toll in preference to the M6 or local roads, which is why we offer attractive product trials and incentives for new HGV customers and bespoke/innovative pricing deals for commercial operators, whether travelling long or short distances or making infrequent journeys.’
MEL also explained that its ‘Let’s Get The Midlands Moving’ campaign – launched in July to help businesses recover from the pandemic – has seen increased numbers of vans and trucks on the M6 Toll.
‘This has helped to both reduce local congestion and provide a significant boost to the regional recovery by enabling businesses to maintain operating efficiencies as they return to work,’ it added.
A new scheme will launch in January 2021 to encourage local drivers to use the toll route at a discounted rate rather than clog up already congested roads such as the A5 and A38
New FlexiPass scheme to cut prices for local drivers
While charges for the use of the entire stretch of M6 toll motorway will rise, the operator has announced a new pre-pay ‘FlexiPass’ scheme, giving a heavily discounted rate for short local journeys from January.
The aim is to encourage local drivers to use the toll route rather than congested roads such as the A5 and A38.
A FlexiPass costs £29 for 10 journeys that start and end at the T4, T5 and T6 junctions. Trips can be carried out at any time: day or night, week or weekend.
It works out at £2.90 a journey, compared to the new daytime rate of £4.90 for cars using the junctions from 4 December 2020.
Andy Cliffe, M6 Toll chief executive, said: ‘We are committed to making the M6 Toll a stress free and reliable route for all, along with taking huge volumes of traffic from the M6 and the surrounding Midlands road network.
‘The new FlexiPass will help to encourage more short, local journeys on the M6 Toll by providing local road users with a flexible and discounted pricing option and achieve the aim of alleviating congestion on local roads.
‘It’s the latest in a suite of products designed to provide drivers with an accessible and cost-effective way of using the M6 Toll.’
The M6 toll was opened in 2003 and designed to move traffic off the heavily congested M6 through Birmingham.
It is the most expensive toll on UK roads ahead of the Dartford Crossing, which costs £2.50 for drivers of passenger cars.
At 27 miles in length, the M6 Toll transports around 18.2million users a year.
At peak times, up to 55 per cent of trucks and 85 per cent of cars making ‘long-distance journeys’ through the Midlands use the toll – traffic which would otherwise be using the M6 and local routes such as the A5, A38 and A446.
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