Regular users of the Mersey Tunnels will see the current Fast Tag system scrapped and replaced with a number plate recognition video system later this year. Tony McDonough reports
Mersey Tunnels is to scrap its Fast Tag system for regular users and replace it with a number plate recognition video system in a £850,000 investment.
It expected the new system will be introduced in both the Queensway (Birkenhead) and Kingsway (Wallasey) tunnels, linking Liverpool and Wirral, by the autumn. Account holders will also see a website upgrade to support online self-service.
Currently, regular users of the tunnels can purchase a Fast Tag which is detected by lane antenna systems at dedicated barriers. Under the new system, cameras will be installed in every lane, with dedicated lanes remaining in place for added convenience, including wider lanes for larger vehicles.
As with the Fast Tag service, a number of vehicles can be added to an account for electronic payment. Cash and contactless payments will still be available for customers who prefer to pay for their crossing this way.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Transport and Air Quality Portfolio Holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority which owns the tunnels, said: “With more than 70,000 journeys a day, the Mersey Tunnels are critical to the social and economic wellbeing of our region, so continued investment is needed.
“Introducing cutting edge technology that delivers real benefits is part of the 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 I would urge those who have not yet registered for an account to do so and receive these benefits.”
Although Fast Tag devices will no longer be needed, existing customers will be able to continue to use them until they are directly contacted to discuss their account migration in more detail.
All tunnel users are encouraged to have an account as this is the cheapest and most convenient way to pay, even if they make only one or two journeys each week.