Tyne Tunnel barriers update: Drivers urged to sign up for new Tyne Pass scheme as 'biggest change in a decade' looms
Tyne Tunnel chiefs are urging people to sign up to their online prepaid system ahead of barriers being removed in November.
The move will also create up to 80 local jobs, according to officers.
Transport chiefs attended the latest South Tyneside Council Riverside Community Area Forum (CAF) to provide an update on the changes being made to the toll route.
Tyne Tunnels Manager Fiona Bootle said in November barriers will be removed, preventing the traffic having to stop at the booths.
She said: “It’s probably the biggest change since the second tunnel was built in 2011, and people will need to get used to this and need to know about it.”
She urged people to sign up to use prepaid accounts to pay to go through the tunnel, which offers a 10% discount.
She said this is already the most popular payment method, used by around 70% of people, which is “likely to go up to 80 or 90%”.
Ms Bootle said: “It is a no-brainer really that people need to set up a prepaid account to get the best use out of the Tyne Tunnels and make their life easy.”
Some councillors at the meeting expressed concerns over how “technology heavy” the new system will be for those who do not access such facilities.
However people who don’t want to use the prepaid scheme can pay after, or before, their journey via the Tyne Tunnels website, on the mobile app, or use the telephone line.
There will also still be the ability to pay by cash, using pay points in shops.
Officers also reminded councillors the toll does not make profit, but pays off debt from the building of the second tunnel.
Anyone travelling through the tunnels will have until midnight the day after their journey to ensure they have made a payment, otherwise enforcement action will be taken.
Ms Bootle added: “It is a major change for users, and what we don’t want is that a large amount of people are affected by the enforcement.”
It was also stated blue badge holders will still be able to use the tunnel for free, however they must register their vehicle online to benefit from the exemption.