Tunnel tolls, travel pass and transport tax are all increasing for residents of Liverpool City Region

Mersey Tunnel tolls, a transport tax and the cost of applying for a cost-effective journey for the elderly in the Liverpool metropolitan area will all rise.

The City Region’s combined authority, led by metro mayor Steve Rotheram, has released its full 2022/23 budget plans – which will be stamped out at a meeting next Friday.

The budget plan includes a number of higher costs that will put pressure on the inhabitants of the metropolitan region.

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Here we take a look at some of the major changes.

Tolls for the Mersey Tunnel

The news of an increase in the tunnel toll was revealed last week and has already been approved by the city region’s transport commission – meaning the approval is now a formality.

The recommendation is a 20 pence increase on all tolls through the Birkenhead and Wallasey tunnels.

The change comes from April and marks the first time in five years that the toll has been increased.

The CA says the increase is in response to mounting pressure on the government budget and rising maintenance costs.

Mersey Tunnel toll at Birkenhead Tunnel.

The authority said the change in tolls will also help cover the shortfall in revenue due to a reduction in traffic compared to pre-pandemic levels and will also allow for investment in supporting key public transport services.

The increase will increase the price of a single journey through the tunnels in a regular car from £1.80 to £2.00.

That same journey with the Liverpool City Region resident discount and a Fast Tag increases from £1.00 to £1.20.

Concessional travel pass

Another cost increase that will be implemented from April is an affordable travel pass for the elderly.

Merseytravel, the city region’s travel agency, currently has a discretionary concession scheme that allows all residents of the Merseyside borough aged 60 and over to travel for free on both bus and train.

It is one of the more generous schemes in the country.

Historically, there was no cost to apply for one of these cheaper travel passes – but that’s about to change.

It is proposed that from April this year a one-off surcharge – not expected to exceed £10 – will be levied when applying for the Merseytravel Concession Travel Pass.

Residents who receive Universal Credit would be exempt from the fee.

travel pass

The budget document also includes a proposal to introduce a one-time administration fee, expected to be no more than £10, for people applying for a low-cost travel pass.

In addition to the mandatory UK National Concessionary Scheme, Merseytravel also operates a discretionary concession scheme that gives all residents of the Merseyside borough aged 60 and over access to low-cost travel, both by bus and train. passes, however, as of 2022/23, it is proposed to charge an administration fee.

Residents who receive Universal Credit would be exempt from the fee. Merseytravel’s budget travel schedule is one of the most generous in the country, entitling Merseyside residents to free train and bus travel from the age of 60, seven years before passes are available under the national schedule.

Transport levy

The budget meeting will also be asked to approve a proposed increase in the transportation levy for fiscal year 2022/23.

The Combined Authority has specific powers over transport in the region and these are financed by a Transport Fee – or tax – paid by the region’s six separate municipalities.

Some municipalities finance this levy through the municipal taxes they collect from residents.

The CA said the transportation charge has been “significantly reduced” in recent years, but a “modest increase” is now needed due to the impact of Covid-19.

The increase will be 2% and the amount of money raised by the CA from councils for transport will rise to £99,352 million by 2022/23.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram explained the proposed changes: “COVID-19 has had a huge impact on everyone’s finances over the past two years and the Combined Authority is not immune to it. The costs of running our region, supporting the local economy during the worst of the pandemic and investing to kick-start our recovery have been significant and will be felt for some time to come.

“The failure of the government to deliver on its ‘whatever it takes’ pledge in funding support has tied our hands financially. It means making tough decisions to keep vital public services running while investing for the future.

“Over the past year and a half, we have provided more than £44 million in aid to more than 4,000 businesses, keeping many afloat and securing many, many thousands of local jobs. We distributed millions to small community groups helping their neighbors during the height of the lockdown. We’ve funded transformative projects in every part of our region – and launched a £150m COVID Recovery Fund to give the local economy a springboard to recover.

“Given the financial pressures the pandemic has placed on us – and the moral obligation we have to tackle the climate crisis – we are forced to make some tough decisions. By doing so, we have ensured that we can continue to invest in growing our region, attracting more high-paying jobs and investment, and building the London transport network that locals deserve.”

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