herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

M50 driver owes €155k as tolls bring in €100m

M50 congestion
M50 congestion

A BRAZEN driver owes the State more than €155,000 for refusing to the pay the M50 toll fee, despite travelling on the busy road 1,018 times last year.

The motorist was just one of hundreds who didn't pay the toll fee after travelling through the barrier-free collection point on the route last year.

The non-payment of the tolls has cost the State a potential €5m in revenue.

Almost €100m was collected from the 43 million journeys which were made through the toll point on the M50 in Dublin in 2014, according to the National Roads Authority (NRA).

The 4pc of drivers who refused to pay their toll represented a 25pc increase on 2013, when there was almost €4m in unpaid fees.

An NRA spokesperson said that €1.7m - 34pc - of the unpaid tolls consisted of fees which had been applied to cars with international registration plates, and 95pc of these were cars from the UK.

As many as 110,000 vehicles use the toll bridge every day.

The maximum amount a driver's bill can rise to for a single unpaid journey is €152.60. The toll fee starts at €3.10 for users who aren't registered.

"However, there is no cap on what a driver can owe if he makes multiple passages without paying," Sean O'Neill from the NRA said.

The NRA has said that legal proceedings can be issued, and in some cases property may be repossessed to cover the costs.

Bikes

Meanwhile, it has been reported that commuters are rejecting public transport options in favour of their cars.

A report from the Department of Transport says that three out of every four trips are made by car, and that people are refusing to walk or cycle even short distances.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said the extent of the use of private cars is "concerning".

"Despite the fact that ownership is below the European average, we still remain firmly attached to the car," he said.

"The significant increase in the numbers going back to work is understandably contributing to this. However, evidence of cars being used even for very short journeys of 2km or less is concerning ... our focus remains on encouraging people to use city bike-share schemes where they are in place and other public transport options."

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