Video technology is being introduced on Wednesday 3 November at both Mersey Tunnels with the launch of a new pre-payment system.
The new system is called “T-FLOW” and will replace the current Fast Tag account system used at the Queensway (Birkenhead) and Kingsway (Wallasey) tunnels, modernising the way tunnel users can pre-pay for their journeys.
Work has been carried out over the last few months to install automatic number place recognition (ANPR) cameras in all toll lanes at both tunnels.
These cameras will read vehicle number plates and activate the payment process if they are registered to an account. Once payment has been approved, the barrier will rise.
Account holders will also benefit from a website upgrade to support online self-service, improving customer experience in managing their account online. As was previously the case, a number of vehicles can be added to one account for electronic payment.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Transport and Air Quality Portfolio Holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said:
“The new video-tolling system is another example of the continued investment that the Combined Authority is making in both of our Mersey Tunnels.
“With over 70,000 journeys a day, the tunnels are critical to the social and economic wellbeing of our region, so continued investment is needed to keep them running both efficiently and safely. Introducing this cutting-edge technology that delivers real benefits is part of our wider vision to make transport services easier and more convenient for people to use.
“The tunnels discount scheme introduced by the Metro Mayor in 2019 is still the cheapest and most convenient way to pay for journeys, and we would urge those who have not yet registered for an account to do so and receive these benefits.”
Initially, only new customers will be added to the T-FLOW system and they will be able to use the system within 30 minutes after registering (having previously had to wait for a Fast Tag device to arrive in the post).
To allow for a smooth transition period, existing Fast Tag users can continue to use their tags as normal. They will be contacted directly to discuss transferring to T-FLOW over the coming months.
The new video tolling system only applies to T-FLOW or Fast Tag account holders. Cash and contactless payments will still be available for tunnel users who prefer to pay for their crossing this way.
As part of the works, the Mersey Tunnels website will be down for maintenance to get ready for the new system from 9am on Monday 1 November until the afternoon of Wednesday 3 November. Fast Tag users will be unable to top up their account during this time and we would advise users to top up their account in advance and avoid any inconvenience or delays to their journeys.
The new T-FLOW system represents a further investment of £850,000 by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to upgrade the pre-payment system in both tunnels.
All tunnel users are encouraged to have an account as this is the most convenient way to pay, even if they make only one or two journeys each week. Account holders who live in the City Region also benefit from a further discount on their journeys.
The completion of the tolls refresh project in April 2019 saw the introduction of contactless payments, new toll machines and information signs all designed to improve journey times through the plaza and the overall customer experience.