Tyne Pass Scheme at the Tyne Tunnels
Transport North East is supporting TT2 Limited who implemented barrierless open-road tolling at the Tyne Tunnels in 2021. The objectives of the new scheme are already being achieved as they aim to modernise the payment system, speed up journeys for customers, reduce carbon emissions and ease traffic congestion.
Tyne Pass Scheme
Tyne Pass is the biggest development at the tunnels since the construction of the second tunnel. This scheme has created new, skilled and well-paid local jobs based at TT2’s offices in Howdon. Tyne Pass is a barrierless open-road tolling scheme, so it has involved the removal of the former toll booths meaning drivers are no longer required to stop or slow down to pay for passage.
All customers can now pay their toll in advance of their journey or after their journey by midnight of the next day.
Customers can pay in a variety of ways including:
• by phone
• at a PayPoint terminal in numerous retail outlets
• by pre-paid account (75% of journeys are by pre-paid account holders which includes a 10% discount per journey)
The phone and PayPoint options allow those who are not proficient on digital devices to pay by other means and around 4% of drivers are using these payment options currently. There is also a dedicated contact centre open seven days a week for drivers to call with any queries about the system should they need support or guidance. Signage at the tunnels and an extensive marketing campaign throughout the region is ongoing, informing drivers of the payment timeframe and ways to pay for their journey.
The changes made by TT2 are supported by Transport North East (on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee), and represent a large investment in the region, with benefits for customers such as:
• Shorter journey times
• A 10% saving when pre-paying for journeys
• Less hassle associated with finding change
• More means of payment: Over the phone, with cash at a Paypoint, online via website or app and prepaid
• Improved air quality-50,000 tonnes of carbon emissions saved annually
• Reduced congestion along this key stretch of the A19, helping serve communities on both sides of the Tyne
• Smoother journeys for blue badge holders, who now no longer need to wait to be allowed through by control room staff to make use of their exemption.
Tyne Pass Legislation Changes
In order to implement the Tyne Pass Scheme, changes were required to legislation. The changes required are modifications to the River Tyne (Tunnels) Order 2005, amendments to the River Tyne (Tunnels) (Revision of Tolls) Order 2021 and revision of the Tyne Tunnels Byelaws 2020.
The amendments have the effect of updating the legislation to remove references to cash payments at the toll plaza, to amend vehicle classifications in line with DVLA criteria and to modify disabled persons’ toll exemptions to enable the barrierless system to operate. A public consultation has been carried out in the relation to the changes to the disabled persons’ toll exemptions. A link to the consultation feedback received as well as our response can be found in the following link here.
Tyne Pass Appraisal
An appraisal of some elements of the Tyne Pass scheme during the first 9 months of operation was requested by the North East Joint Transport Committee Tyne & Wear Sub-Committee in July 2022. The appraisal has been carried out by Transport North East and the report was presented to the committee on 8th September 2022. The report is available here.
For more information on the Tyne Tunnels, click here.