Monday, 28 July 2014

M50 price hike to hit local businesses

The price hike for the toll at the M50 has been heavily criticised by business leaders this week.

ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, has lashed out at the Government for its greed and opportunism in dealing with barrier free tolling on the M50 and the resultant cost to business of using one of the busiest roadways in Europe.

The Association slammed the decision to increase tolls for business vehicles and called for a complete phasing out of tolls on the M50 over the next two years,

According to ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding, “it is bad enough to be informed that there will continue to be delays even after the introduction of a barrier free toll system, but to also discover that businesses will be charged up to 46 percent more for these tolls, at a time when business costs are already going through the roof is unacceptable and yet another stealth tax introduced to benefit the State coffers. The fact that this is on the back of the long suffering M50 commuter is an absolute disgrace and intolerable.”

Fielding continued, “Up to now, all single axle vans / commercial jeeps have been charged at €2.80. However from 30th August, the vast majority of commercial vehicles have been pushed into a higher category costing €4.10, an increase of 46 percent. For a typical SME with two commercial vehicles using the M50, the increased cost will represent an additional €1,352 annually. At a time when margins are at an all time low the company will need to generate additional sales of €35,000 to cover the extra costs.”

“The taxpayers have already paid €500m for the Westlink and are now being fleeced on the double to pay for a road that was originally intended to simply by-pass the city, but instead has become a primary commuter route. Ironically, a toll is only supposed to be introduced if there is a viable alternative road available. In this case and until the outer orbital route is introduced, no such alternative exists.”

  In conclusion Fielding called for the immediate phasing out of tolls on the M50 and the introduction of an alternative to this clogged artery through the immediate construction of an outer orbital route.

On Tuesday, Payzone plc, Ireland’s largest independent consumer payments network, confirmed that the retail solution which they will operate exclusively on the barrier free M50 on behalf of the National Roads Authority (NRA), is ready to launch in Roscommon.

On August 30th, toll booths on the M50 will be decommissioned in favour of a new electronic tolling system designed for convenient toll payment.

Payzone’s service will allow M50 users from Roscommon who decide to forgo registration of their vehicles on the eFlow system, to pay M50 toll charges incurred, at Payzone’s branded network of 6 retailers throughout the county. Consumers who do not register for a tag and wish to ‘pay as they go’ in retail outlets can only do so in retail outlets across the county that are branded Payzone.

Payzone agents in Roscommon include Spar, Londis, Gala, Mace, Centra, Supervalu as well as Topaz and Esso’s ‘On the Run’ service stations.

Consumers can locate their nearest Payzone outlet by looking out for the signage instore, via the internet at www.payzone.ie/outlets or by telephone on 1890-50-10-50.

Consumers have until 8 pm the day following their trip to pay the toll charge. Consumers need to advise retailers of their vehicle registration number and the number of trips they wish to pay for. If consumers do not pay their toll charge in time a bill will be issued which they will be able to pay in Payzone agents across Roscommon.