Tyne Tunnel: How to pay and what happens if I forget?

Drivers using the Tyne tunnels will now need to pay the toll either online, by phone or at a pay point situated in retailers around the area.  This means motorists will be able to drive straight through the tunnel without the need to stop and provide payment at tolls in the plaza - speeding up the process and cutting delays.

However, with similar systems - such as the Dart Charge at the Dartford Crossing - drivers unfamiliar with the new payment set-up could receive unexpected fines. Here is all you need to know about the cash-free payment at point-of-use for the Tyne crossing - and how to avoid being fined. 

What has changed for drivers using the crossing?

From now on, anyone using the tunnel will need to settle-up after the event - or before with a prepaid account - using several new payment systems. 

How much is the Tyne Tunnel toll?

Vehicle Cost 10% discount Pre-Paid Account
Disabled registered
Free N/A
Car, Van or Bus less than 3.5 tonnes £1.90 £1.71
LGV, Van or Bus over 3.5 tonnes £3.70 £3.33

When must the toll be paid by?

The toll must be paid by midnight on the day after the driver used the service. If you forget to make payment by this time, you could face a fine. 

Is the toll paid in both directions?

Yes. The crossing charge applies regardless of which direction they are travelling. 

The charge is payable for each journey and does not cover a period of time.

Can I use cash?

No - cash cannot be used at the time of crossing - there are no longer any toll booths. However, cash can be used at one of the PayPoints that are located in the local area.  The nearest is just 300 yards away. 

How much is the fine if I forget to make a payment?

If a driver does not settle-up the toll in time - or if their exemption is not properly registered - they will receive a 'Unpaid Toll Charge Notice' (UTCN) typically within 14 days. 

This will include a charge of £60 plus the original toll charge. However, this can be cut to £30 plus your original toll if paid within 14 days of the date on the UTCN.

If the recipient fails to make payment within 28 days of the UTCN, the fine will jump to £100 plus the toll.

How does the charging system know I have used the crossing?

The payment system uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to record vehicles that have used the bores. 

Will I get a reminder to settle-up the toll charge after using the crossing?

No reminders will be sent to users who have used the service. This is why it is important to remember to pay the charge by midnight the day after use. 

Drivers complain poor signage is behind tunnel fines

Users of the tunnels have complained that 'useless' temporary signage is making it difficult for drivers to get the details they need to pay the toll - resulting in many being fined, the article on the BBC claims. 
Drivers who miss the signs should search online for information about payment times and methods. 

I am a Blue Badge holder - am I liable for the charge?

Yes, if you are a Blue Badge or your vehicle is tax-exempt due to a disability. However, you will need to register as such before you can use the crossing - not doing so will attract a fine by way of a UTCN.

These exemption accounts will also need to renewed on an annual basis. Applications for exemptions can be made here

Are motorbikes charged?

Motorcyclists do not have the toll for using the crossing. 

Do drivers of electric cars have to pay?

Yes. If you have an electric car or other form of EV, you will still need to pay the full toll charge, 

How can I pay for using the Tyne Tunnel?

Users can settle the charge in the following ways:

Prepaid account: Pay in advance for using the crossing. An auto top-up function is also available to ensure you are not left without credit.
Another bonus of this method, is that users receive a 10% discount. For example, as car will drop from £1.90 to £1.71.

Pay for passage: This is where casual users can settle up online by midnight the day after use. Simply logon and enter your vehicle details. The payment page is here.
By phone: The automated phone line allows users to settle the charge for using the bores. It can also take payments for up tp 10 advance journeys in the coming year, top up a pre-paid account or a fine by way of a UTCN. 

Call the automatic phone payment system on 0191 574 0030. This is a 24-hour service.

PayPoint: While cash payments are no longer accepted at point of use, people with no online or phone access can still use currency by visiting a PayPoint machine at a local retailer.

The PayPoint can be used to settle a single crossing, or to purchase up to 10 advance crossings. You can find your nearest PayPoint here.

Is the Tyne Tunnel free on New Year's Day?

No - you will need to make payment to use the crossing 365 days a year. No presents for drivers this Christmas. 

Is it free to use the crossing on weekends?

No. Anyone using the crossing will need to pay the charge seven days a week throughout the year. 

How to beat the Tyne toll charge fine

Use your iPhone - or Android-based device to send a reminder to yourself every time you use the crossing. Use the iPhone Reminder function or Google Keep offers an option for Android device.
The following graphic shows how to set it up on an iPhone.
iPhone reminder for Tyne TunnelsHow to set a reminder to pay the Tyne Tunnel charge. 

Hacks to 'beat' the Tyne Tunnel charge could see drivers end up in court

There have been reports of drivers attempting to hide the identity of their car from the crossing's ANPR cameras by adding 'infrared tape' to make the registration number unreadable. 

But with the cameras reading the number plate four times as each vehicle goes through the crossing, the chances of evading detection are low, according to the crossing's manager Fiona Bootle. 

She said: “People have been using infrared tape over the two end letters at each end so the camera picks it up and this tape only picks up the middle letters."

The tape is transparent, but in the UK it is illegal to cover a vehicle's number plate with anything at all - and could result in prosecution. Ensuring you pay the charge on time is the only legitimate way to avoid fines.  

Can I appeal a UTCN?

Yes. Head here to make your appeal.

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