Tyne Tunnel tolls

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jnty
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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by jnty » Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:14

KeithW wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 11:43
jnty wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 11:09
KeithW wrote:
Tue Nov 16, 2021 18:27


Unfortunately in the real world if I have to drive to Kent I cannot always, or often come to that, predict that several days in advance.
Why would you need to book several days in advance? It would be technologically relatively simple to make the booking immediate at the time of departure, taking into account speed/cost preferences.
If your pricing is based on dynamic levels it will have changed in the 5 or 6 hours to get to the crossing, its either dynamic or not - oh and congestion is not all that predictable. 2 years ago I left Headcorn at 7 AM heading for the crossing which was running freely at the time . At 9.30 I was still on the A228 approaching Dartford, it seems a tanker got stuck blocking one of the tunnels - chaos ensued. That was a nasty trip, the M11 was also closed at J12 by a burst water main that flooded the road, luckily I know all the back roads and cut across country to the A1198.
The point about booking it would be the lock-in - your booking would factor in to the prices quoted for later journeys. Exactly the same principle as an advance rail ticket not changing in price when more bookings are made later on.

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KeithW
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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by KeithW » Wed Nov 17, 2021 13:24

jnty wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:14

The point about booking it would be the lock-in - your booking would factor in to the prices quoted for later journeys. Exactly the same principle as an advance rail ticket not changing in price when more bookings are made later on.
What does that mean precisely ?

Lets start with what we know. An RAC survey showed that the busiest time was between 11 AM and 4.30 PM on Weekdays
Traffic heading back to London after a bank holiday weekend can be especially bad as I know from experience.

So I plan to travel from Teesside to Dover get the lowest price on the Dartford crossing I will have to be leaving between 4 and 5 AM in the morning. The problem with that is I will be hitting the M11/M25 at the peak of rush hour which is never a good idea and with your pricing scheme in place across the board will leave me with a dilemma. Do I go for the best price around London or over the crossing ? Then of course I have to figure in a channel crossing slot if my destination is in Europe.

So I could be looking at booking 3 separate but slots for travel. Teesside to the M25 (the M11 is a tad busy these days), The Dartford Crossing, the Channel Crossing

Now lets suppose that because of travel problems anywhere along 300 miles of congested roads I miss my cheap slot due to circumstances beyond my control which could be congestion on the A1/M11, a breakdown, a tyre blowout etc. One of 2 things can happen.

1) I get billed with a higher cost, a penalty charge in effect.
2) I still get allowed onto the route at the original price.

The first would be grossly unfair and the second would destroy the whole basis of your system as people would just book the cheapest slot and turn up when it suited them. Don't even think of some sort of investigative procedure. With 120,000 crossings every day and traffic originating as far away as Scotland, The Lake District, Wales and (name your European city) it is not going to work.

Fixed price tolls are adopted because they are simple to understand, easy to implement and enforceable using automated systems. As always the KISS principle applies (Keep It Simple Stupid). I will leave you to explain the rules and payment arrangement for an HGV to a Polish speaking driver headed from Walsall to Warsaw.

jnty
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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by jnty » Wed Nov 17, 2021 13:48

KeithW wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 13:24
jnty wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:14

The point about booking it would be the lock-in - your booking would factor in to the prices quoted for later journeys. Exactly the same principle as an advance rail ticket not changing in price when more bookings are made later on.
What does that mean precisely ?

Lets start with what we know. An RAC survey showed that the busiest time was between 11 AM and 4.30 PM on Weekdays
Traffic heading back to London after a bank holiday weekend can be especially bad as I know from experience.

So I plan to travel from Teesside to Dover get the lowest price on the Dartford crossing I will have to be leaving between 4 and 5 AM in the morning. The problem with that is I will be hitting the M11/M25 at the peak of rush hour which is never a good idea and with your pricing scheme in place across the board will leave me with a dilemma. Do I go for the best price around London or over the crossing ? Then of course I have to figure in a channel crossing slot if my destination is in Europe.

So I could be looking at booking 3 separate but slots for travel. Teesside to the M25 (the M11 is a tad busy these days), The Dartford Crossing, the Channel Crossing

Now lets suppose that because of travel problems anywhere along 300 miles of congested roads I miss my cheap slot due to circumstances beyond my control which could be congestion on the A1/M11, a breakdown, a tyre blowout etc. One of 2 things can happen.

1) I get billed with a higher cost, a penalty charge in effect.
2) I still get allowed onto the route at the original price.

The first would be grossly unfair and the second would destroy the whole basis of your system as people would just book the cheapest slot and turn up when it suited them. Don't even think of some sort of investigative procedure. With 120,000 crossings every day and traffic originating as far away as Scotland, The Lake District, Wales and (name your European city) it is not going to work.

Fixed price tolls are adopted because they are simple to understand, easy to implement and enforceable using automated systems. As always the KISS principle applies (Keep It Simple Stupid). I will leave you to explain the rules and payment arrangement for an HGV to a Polish speaking driver headed from Walsall to Warsaw.
Yes, the problems you outline explain why it would have to be a whole-journey system with allowances made for unexpected congestion. But fundamentally, the majority of car journey delays come from demand exceeding capacity, not accidents, and for every other product and service in the world - especially in the transport sector - demand is managed almost exclusively by price. Linking up multiple modes of travel is always challenging but the ability to deliver more journey time certainty should really only make that easier, and you can imagine that booking a drive in advance might end up much cheaper, especially if you expressed some kind of flexibility over your route and departure time. Given a properly internationalised and translated interface to the system, it would be far more understandable to foreign drivers than the mishmash of tolls and restrictions that currently exist. You could also centrally control travel in height/weight restrictions etc. You could of course book a slot and ignore it - you'd just be charged at the prevailing rates for your journey, the obvious comparison being 'walk-on' railway tickets.

No doubt we'll probably end up with an even worse mishmash of charges and restrictions at every level, but a better future is always possible...

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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by Phil » Wed Nov 17, 2021 17:51

jnty wrote:
Tue Nov 16, 2021 11:20
Vierwielen wrote:
Mon Nov 15, 2021 21:54
fras wrote:
Mon Nov 08, 2021 19:52
Things like this that are tolled, the answer is to raise the tolls until the congestion disappears, OR maybe to have variable tolls based on traffic levels. Would the DART crossing be so busy if the toll was £50 at peak periods ? I don't think so.
This raises the question - should tolls be used to extract the maximum amount of money or to regulate traffic according to a specific plan. The Dublin Port Tunnel is a good example of the latter - goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are exempt from charges (which keeps them out of Dublin city centre); vehicles under 3.5 tonnes are subject to a €10 charge when travelling southwards during the weekday morning rush hours or northwards during the weekday evening rush hours, otherwise they are charged €3.
This is why I find motorway-only tolling in Europe a bit of an anachronism in the 21st century - surely you want as much traffic to take motorways as possible to keep the urban and rural roads more pleasant and safe? I guess this is why many urban motorways are toll-free.
Its not an 'anachronism' as you put it - its actually one of the fairest methods of road charging (particularly when combine with Governments who provide generous subsides to less polluting transport options)!

As you note motorways forming ring roads or urban by-passes are usually toll free to encourage traffic off surrounding roads where traffic congestion / pollution would be harmful. Also sometimes areas which are perceived to be deprived and need to attract business also have toll free motorways to attract trade. Both these are 'good' uses of free motorways.

Drivers in rural areas (which lack alternative transport or motorways in general) can have their taxation levels set relatively low reflecting the essential nature of their car use due to a lack of alternatives (and a lack of motorways). Using high fuel tax as a way of charging the motorist unfairly penalises this group in particular (and is often cited by Ministers as the reason for not increasing it despite rail fare rises continually being set above inflation)

By contrast drivers / freight performing commuting / long distance trips / hauls where alternatives like rail services do exist end up paying significantly more - thus penalising them for using a more polluting and harmful method of transport. Having free motorways in the context is most defiantly a 'bad' use of them.

Its the same principle with congestion charges - build park and rides or provide frequent PT then the majority who are selfish enough to want to continue driving have to pay. If necessary add in exemptions for certain groups where alternatives (e.g. a plumber who quite reasonably cannot be expected to lug round boiler parts and tools on PT) don't exist / are impractical.

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KeithW
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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by KeithW » Wed Nov 17, 2021 17:58

jnty wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 13:48


Yes, the problems you outline explain why it would have to be a whole-journey system with allowances made for unexpected congestion. But fundamentally, the majority of car journey delays come from demand exceeding capacity, not accidents, and for every other product and service in the world - especially in the transport sector - demand is managed almost exclusively by price. Linking up multiple modes of travel is always challenging but the ability to deliver more journey time certainty should really only make that easier, and you can imagine that booking a drive in advance might end up much cheaper, especially if you expressed some kind of flexibility over your route and departure time. Given a properly internationalised and translated interface to the system, it would be far more understandable to foreign drivers than the mishmash of tolls and restrictions that currently exist. You could also centrally control travel in height/weight restrictions etc. You could of course book a slot and ignore it - you'd just be charged at the prevailing rates for your journey, the obvious comparison being 'walk-on' railway tickets.

No doubt we'll probably end up with an even worse mishmash of charges and restrictions at every level, but a better future is always possible...
Lots of luck implementing such a system that covers all the variables for all the possible permutations using only the 4,400 miles of strategic roads and the 4 million vehicles a day using them. The list of variable factors is in practical terms unlimited. As someone who worked in software development from 1984 until my retirement in Dec 2016 I have a very real grasp of reality. More to the point the number of diversions, alarms and unforseen emergencies can make life really interesting. On day I might bore you with how I got from Cambridge to Marton in Cleveland when the A1, A15, M1 and Doncaster bypass were all closed on the same day.

One aspect that has to be borne in mind is that while some recreational drivers have the degree of flexibility you envisage most do not. HGV and PSV drivers have limits on the time they spent driving and the breaks they must take as well as the routes suitable for their vehicles. Some people driving to work have at best core hours they have to be in the office but most are more rigidly controlled. When I was driving to see customers such as EdF, Foster Wheeler, BNFL, Crossrail etc they specified when I had to be there, as a consultant I was not in charge.

As for a fully internationalised interface lots of luck with that even if you stick to the standard Latin alphabet. Throw in the variations even with western European display formats, umlauts, accents etc and its worse. Throw in variants such as Cyrillic and you had best book your nervous breakdown now.

The UK road system is a network with an essentially infinite number of routes along public roads that can be used. Just sticking to strategic roads there are a large number of options when it comes to getting from say Teesside to Newhaven. Include all Primary Roads and it gets much worse and of course if your destination is in the boonies it gets even worse. This is why you see picture of HGV's stuck in villages because their satnav sent them that way.

Try selecting a route from Perth to Dungeness as an interesting example. As it happens my of route of choice would depend on the conditions the morning I set out. I always have a plan B and often a Plan C and D.

As for a better future my experience of overreachingly complex and improperly specified systems is that they typically fail disastrously. This is why my principle when it comes to software design is Keep It Simple Stupid. Any driver heading for the UK had better have some grasp of English or he is going to get lost very soon but requiring a driver from Gdansk to select a route to Marton will cause you a lot of headaches if for no other reason that there are rather a lot of places in England called Marton and that doesnt even include places such as Long Marton.

Never forget that while a better system is always the aim far too often we end up with something much much worse.

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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by Vierwielen » Thu Nov 18, 2021 18:26

KeithW wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 17:58
... snip

As for a better future my experience of overreachingly complex and improperly specified systems is that they typically fail disastrously. This is why my principle when it comes to software design is Keep It Simple Stupid. Any driver heading for the UK had better have some grasp of English or he is going to get lost very soon but requiring a driver from Gdansk to select a route to Marton will cause you a lot of headaches if for no other reason that there are rather a lot of places in England called Marton and that doesnt even include places such as Long Marton.

... snip
There are many stories of Satnav entries gone wrong. One of my favourites relates to the children of Earl Spencer. (They live in the Northampton area). They decided to watch the footie and ordered a cab to take them to "Stamford Bridge". The taxi driver dutifully entered "Stamford Bridge" onto his satnav and followed the route given to him. The passengers did not check where the cabbie was taking them and rather than watching Chelsea play at home, they were entertained by a history lesson related about a battle that took place in 1066, a few days before the Battle of Hastings!

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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by the cheesecake man » Fri Nov 19, 2021 13:51

Vierwielen wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 18:26
There are many stories of Satnav entries gone wrong. One of my favourites relates to the children of Earl Spencer. (They live in the Northampton area). They decided to watch the footie and ordered a cab to take them to "Stamford Bridge". The taxi driver dutifully entered "Stamford Bridge" onto his satnav and followed the route given to him. The passengers did not check where the cabbie was taking them and rather than watching Chelsea play at home, they were entertained by a history lesson related about a battle that took place in 1066, a few days before the Battle of Hastings!
Conversely those looking or Althorp House have been known to end up in Althorpe, Lincolnshire. :rolleyes:

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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by djw1981 » Thu Dec 02, 2021 23:21

Anecdotes from parents and their friends regarding the new system is that lots opened accounts well ahead of the switchover and loaded them with £10 or 20, and are now receiving tickets for not paying because of issue with the ANPR system. They make the point that there is no positive feedback that your number has been recorded correctly; unlike car parks etc which often display the reg number on a screen.

I'd have assumed that TT2 were using standard apoproved technologies, so hopefully this is all teething troubles,

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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by jnty » Fri Dec 03, 2021 14:00

djw1981 wrote:
Thu Dec 02, 2021 23:21
Anecdotes from parents and their friends regarding the new system is that lots opened accounts well ahead of the switchover and loaded them with £10 or 20, and are now receiving tickets for not paying because of issue with the ANPR system. They make the point that there is no positive feedback that your number has been recorded correctly; unlike car parks etc which often display the reg number on a screen.

I'd have assumed that TT2 were using standard apoproved technologies, so hopefully this is all teething troubles,
You'd assume that if there were a problem with the ANPR system itself, they wouldn't be getting any tickets as the registration would be wrong and the tickets would be sent to the wrong person (or nobody if the number didn't actually exist.) The fact they're getting the tickets suggests the VRN has been recorded correctly and linked to the correct address; in which case the problem is with the payments system being unable to link previous payments with charges. I suppose the payments system is more likely to be bespoke.

(I would agree with comments made earlier in this thread (I think) that there's no practical (as opposed to legal) reason this is necessary and this should just be yet another charge paid via a central British road charges system, but alas!)

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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by c2R » Fri Dec 03, 2021 14:34

Phil wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 17:51
Its not an 'anachronism' as you put it - its actually one of the fairest methods of road charging (particularly when combine with Governments who provide generous subsides to less polluting transport options)!
I'm not sure that it is particularly fair - many people driving for business reasons and haulage will simply pass the cost on, so it won't act as any deterrent. It's like if I need to drive into the London congestion zone - the people that pay for it are the people who want me to be there.

However, if I'm footing the bill, then, unless it was in peak congestion hours I'll simply shunpike around the toll along with many other people - this makes life worse for those people living on the alternative routes as a direct result of the toll.

A classic case being the bypass of Drogheda - it's still congested in the town centre, because of people avoiding the toll. True, there's less freight going through the town, but the rest of the M1 being free has meant that people are likely to be travelling further along the corridor, commuting from all the way up the coast into Dublin - which has increased the amount of people using the road space in the town. It's also had the additional effect of causing traffic to divert through Slane and down the N2 because of the locations of the junctions and the start of the tolled section. This has caused worse traffic, more pollution, and reduced traffic safety past the houses through Slane itself so that it itself now is being planned to be bypassed. Removal of the toll may even result in the N2 bypass not being required.

On the other hand, rush hour charging for the Port Tunnel, except for HGVs is a fairly successful example - because it's got most of the HGVs off the urban streets (except the overheight ones), while at the same time it suppresses demand for the route by daily car commuters.
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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by Vierwielen » Fri Dec 03, 2021 22:58

djw1981 wrote:
Thu Dec 02, 2021 23:21
Anecdotes from parents and their friends regarding the new system is that lots opened accounts well ahead of the switchover and loaded them with £10 or 20, and are now receiving tickets for not paying because of issue with the ANPR system. They make the point that there is no positive feedback that your number has been recorded correctly; unlike car parks etc which often display the reg number on a screen.

I'd have assumed that TT2 were using standard apoproved technologies, so hopefully this is all teething troubles,
I recall reading that when the Rhodesians computerised their care registration system in the 1970's, they used an all-numeric format followed by an alpha checkdigit. This should filter out any mis-readings on number-plates.

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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by jabbaboy » Sat Dec 04, 2021 09:07

jnty wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 13:48
Yes, the problems you outline explain why it would have to be a whole-journey system with allowances made for unexpected congestion. But fundamentally, the majority of car journey delays come from demand exceeding capacity, not accidents, and for every other product and service in the world - especially in the transport sector - demand is managed almost exclusively by price. Linking up multiple modes of travel is always challenging but the ability to deliver more journey time certainty should really only make that easier, and you can imagine that booking a drive in advance might end up much cheaper, especially if you expressed some kind of flexibility over your route and departure time. Given a properly internationalised and translated interface to the system, it would be far more understandable to foreign drivers than the mishmash of tolls and restrictions that currently exist. You could also centrally control travel in height/weight restrictions etc. You could of course book a slot and ignore it - you'd just be charged at the prevailing rates for your journey, the obvious comparison being 'walk-on' railway tickets.

No doubt we'll probably end up with an even worse mishmash of charges and restrictions at every level, but a better future is always possible...
It's certainly an interesting idea but if your going to go down that route then personally I'd be looking at ditching road tax plus part of the fuel tax and replacing that. You'd be better off replacing that with a system which charges you based on how many miles you travel for example do something like:

Rural areas - 5p / mile
Urban areas - 15p / mile (Off Peak), 25p / mile (Peak)
City / town centres - 50p / mile

It's simple to understand, means you don't have to mess around booking routes making it confusing and time consuming and punishes though who travel at peak times in the busy areas whereas those in the country lanes of the Highlands don't get hit as hard. I'd reduce fuel tax so those purely paying 5p a mile don't pay anything more.

Might promote those who purely travel around in urban areas to ditch the car and use public transport since it's priced at similar prices you'd pay to use a bus and severely punish those traveling around the likes of London which there's very little excuse nowadays for most people.

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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by Vierwielen » Sat Dec 04, 2021 22:10

jabbaboy wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 09:07

... snip

It's certainly an interesting idea but if your going to go down that route then personally I'd be looking at ditching road tax plus part of the fuel tax and replacing that. You'd be better off replacing that with a system which charges you based on how many miles you travel for example do something like:

Rural areas - 5p / mile
Urban areas - 15p / mile (Off Peak), 25p / mile (Peak)
City / town centres - 50p / mile

It's simple to understand, means you don't have to mess around booking routes making it confusing and time consuming and punishes though who travel at peak times in the busy areas whereas those in the country lanes of the Highlands don't get hit as hard. I'd reduce fuel tax so those purely paying 5p a mile don't pay anything more.

Might promote those who purely travel around in urban areas to ditch the car and use public transport since it's priced at similar prices you'd pay to use a bus and severely punish those traveling around the likes of London which there's very little excuse nowadays for most people.
Something like this would need a non-invasive technology to enable enforcement. One way would be to require cars to have GPS-linked tachograph fitted that would log their journeys. Drivers check the amount that they owed each month (or each quarter) and pay up with a cross-check being mandatory once a year (combined with a MoT for older cars). The authorities woudl probably demand the right to inspect tachographs, but only of there was a big discrepancy between the amout paid and the amount owing. Thus, if you want privacy regarding your use of your car, you ensure that you pay the correct tax all the time.

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Re: Tyne Tunnel tolls

Post by Mark Hewitt » Wed Dec 08, 2021 10:08

I used it last week got charged the 1.71 correctly. It is still all very temporary with cones etc. The lane markings and signage is poor especially at the northbound exit I can see why people are confused.
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