The option to pay via contactless card payment is now live in all 21 lanes of the Birkenhead Tunnel (Queensway), with contactless set to be introduced across all 13 lanes at the Wallasey Tunnel (Kingsway) from Thursday, May 2.
It completes the final part of the £3.1m ‘refresh’ of the tunnels tolling system. There have also been a number of other improvements, which include:
- New toll machines with improved positioning of both the coin basket and the “reject coin” slot (making it easier to collect coins not accepted).
- Improved coin analysers, ensuring the cash transaction is quicker for customers.
- A change to the process of the “staffed” lanes, where payment is taken by the attendant rather than the cash being handed back to them to make payment at the machine – again speeding up the transaction for the customer.
- Digital displays which indicate information about your transaction in live time as well as the status of Fast Tag account balances.
- A new, improved website for Mersey Tunnels and the Fast Tag system at merseytunnels.co.uk
Merseytravel decided to refresh the current system rather than wholly replace it, so as to minimise the disruption to the public and to also allow long-term planning for any major changes in the future.
The scheme saw the existing toll machines (which were first installed in 2001) replaced on a lane-by-lane basis from to minimise disruption for tunnel users. The changes to the system have helped traffic flow through the toll plaza – improving journey times through the toll plaza area by 15% on average and reducing congestion.
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, said: “I’m really happy that we’ve been able to make using the Mersey Tunnels even easier by introducing contactless payments. It should also mean cars will spend less time on the toll plaza, reducing congestion and air pollution and making journeys faster.
“There’s now no need to hunt around for change. You can now just tap your debit and credit card and go, or still take advantage of Fast Tag with £1 journeys for Liverpool City Region residents.”