Tyne Pass Scheme at the Tyne Tunnels

We are supporting TT2 who are implementing a barrierless open-road tolling scheme at the Tyne Tunnels. The aims of the new scheme are to modernise the payment system, speed up journeys for drivers, and reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion.

Tyne Pass Scheme at the Tyne Tunnels

Tyne Pass is set to launch at the end of 2021 and is the biggest development at the tunnels since the construction of the second tunnel.  The scheme will modernise the payment system, speed up journeys for drivers, and reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion.  It also creates new local jobs based at TT2’s offices in Howdon. Tyne Pass is a barrierless open-road tolling scheme, so tunnel users will see the removal of all the existing toll booths and will pay their toll in advance of their journey or after their journey by midnight of the next day.

When planning the Tyne Pass Scheme, TT2 (who operate the tunnels) researched the introduction of free flow by other operators and found that changing overnight from cash payments to cashless freeflow not only causes problems for customers unfamiliar with the system, but also leaves staff unprepared for volumes of enquiries following such a sudden change. On the basis of this feedback TT2 have planned the implementation of Tyne Pass in three stages.

Tyne Pass has progressed in the three following phases:

Phase 1 – Pay Later (implemented May 2020)

Allows customers to start to understand the concept of paying after a journey. It tests TT2’s business rules and the capability to manage non-payment. It also highlights any exceptional scenarios that need to be designed into the Tyne Pass solution.

Phase 2 – Interim Free Flow (implemented December 2020)

Barrierless free flow using traffic lights in dedicated lanes, encouraging customers to sign up for a pre-paid account for the most convenient method of payment.  This phase also allows customers to become accustomed to barrierless operations.

Phase 3 –Tyne Pass Scheme Go-Live (planned late 2021)

Complete removal of the plazas and all barriers, creating continuous seamless journeys through the tunnels without the need to stop, customers will either pre-pay or pay after their journey.

These changes made by TT2 and supported by Transport North East (on behalf of the North East Joint Transport Committee), will represent a large investment in the region, with benefits for customers such as:

  • Shorter journey times
  • 10% saving when pre-paying for journeys
  • Less hassle 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 emissions saved
  • Reduced congestion along this key stretch of the A19, helping serve communities on both sides of the Tyne

Tyne Pass Legislation Changes

In order to implement the Tyne Pass Scheme, changes are 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 will 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.

The draft legislation will be posted on this website as it is prepared for submission.

1. An application is going to be made to the Secretary of State for Transport for an order on behalf of the North East Combined Authority and the North of Tyne Combined Authority (‘the Authority’) under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Transport and Works Act 1992 to modify the River Tyne (Tunnels) Order 2005 (‘the 2005 Order’).  The proposed order is to be called the River Tyne (Tunnels) (Modification) Order 2021 (‘the Proposed Order’).

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