Thursday 11 June 2009

Don’t get caught not paying the toll on the M50 in Ireland

To speed up the M50 “C” shaped motorway that links the north and south of Dublin with all the major motorways and “N” roads, it has been widened in part and the toll removed. The toll is for the bridge over the River Liffey and was originally the west link with a toll plaza. There are now cameras operating as you cross the toll rather like those for the London congestion charge zone.

If you are driving an UK registered car as I was last week, apparently because you are on foreign plates does not exempt you from paying the toll. The signs are not one hundred per cent clear and you are meant to pay this charge by 8.00 the following evening.

If you don't pay your toll before 8pm on the day following your journey, a penalty of €3 is added to the outstanding amount. If you fail to pay the toll and this €3 penalty within the next 14 days, a further penalty of €41.50 will be levied. Failure to pay the full amount due within a further 56 days will result in an additional €104.50 penalty. Then if you still have not paid the total amount due, legal proceedings will be initiated

Motorists must carry an electronic tag, pre-register to pay automatically, or pay the following day in order to avoid penalties. All car registrations from Ireland and the UK passing through will be captured on camera.

The National Roads Authority will use a Europe-wide debt recovery agency to seek out drivers from the UK who fail to buy an electronic tag or to pay later via the internet. It compared the fines regime to the one used in London to monitor the congestion charge.

I paid my €3 in one direction by having to find an Internet Café and paying on line and in the other direction by finding a local SPAR shop that I could pay at. Apparently you can save money by registering your car on line at the e-flow website.

If you are renting a car, do make sure that you check with the car rental company about the toll. Some Irish car rental companies are keeping credit card details so the amount can be debited accordingly. If you are renting a car in Northern Ireland it is worth checking there as well.

On the 11th June it was reported that the company handling customer queries from M50 toll users has lost its contract due to the high volume of complaints about its service. BetEireFlow which is the organisation that operates the M50 tolling system on behalf of the National Roads Authority (NRA) had terminated its contract with its customer service operator, Teleperformance. It had also handled queries for the eFlow electronic toll tag service.

According to the report in "The Irish Times" The contract has been awarded to Cork-based business services provider Abtran, which is to hire an additional 100 staff for its head office in Bishopstown to handle the approximately 6,000 telephone calls a day associated with the service. One of the problems was that the legal firm appointed by the NRA to pursue motorists who failed to pay the toll sent letters to motorists who claimed their account arrears had already been paid.

When I paid my toll charge on line at the Internet café, I printed off the payment receipt and when I paid the second time in the SPAR shop I asked for a receipt, in case there was a payment at a future time.

It is important to retain these receipts for a while together with car hire information as you never know when you might need it. A few years ago my wife received a speeding notification from the Garda Síochána (Police). She had rented a car, however the registration the car hire company had provided the authorities with was similar to the one on the ticket. She had to send them a copy of the car hire agreement to prove she was not driving the car involved. Fortunately she had retained the information as otherwise it would have involved contacting the car hire company and asking them to provide this.

Whether you use the toll or not don’t forget to take out your car hire excess insurance in advance and save money.

1 comment:

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