Fleet News

M6 Toll spurs new plan for UK road charging

THE Government is pushing ahead with plans to launch a national road charging scheme following the opening of the M6 Toll around Birmingham.

Plans for a national grid of toll roads is being looked at, with the use of satellite navigation technology (GPS) as a means for calculating bills a possibility within a decade. A spokesman for the Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT), a Government advisory body, said: 'The Government has set up a committee to look at extending the road charging programme. CfIT sees this as the way forward and believes a GPS scheme could reduce congestion by up to 44%.

'Fleets would face more tolls but would be paid back in the time saved. It would free up about 40 hours' travelling time in a year, which is a week's work.'

National roadside assistance group RAC also believes that if successful, the M6 Toll could spur a national scheme.

A spokeswoman for the RAC said: 'If the toll proves to be a viable profitable road, we think this might be the shape of things to come. Midland Expressway has £700 million of up-front investment to recoup. If the road does this quickly, that may be the green light that escalates future private road investment.'

Fleets around the M6 Toll area are already expecting huge savings on journey times. Mark Allwood, group operations manager at Birmingham-based, Sangers Group, said the firm had not stipulated drivers use the road but believes they would opt to.

He said: 'We have left the decision of whether to use the toll up to individual drivers. If they think it is a benefit then they can use it. If we save three-quarters of an hour on a journey time then it is certainly a benefit.'

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