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LORDS COMMITTEE

There were 3 petitions in support of the Bill, all with London addresses.

Their figures showed that the tunnels would virtually break even and repay nearly all the debt. All this despite spending 300 million on refurbishment. If refurbishment spending was less than they estimated, then the tunnels debt could be paid off well within the 25 years, and under the existing law tolls should then come down.

billgraph

Many people may be concerned about heavier vehicles making up a higher proportion of Tunnels traffic, particularly during those frequent midday periods, when Merseytravel close one of the 2 Wallasey Tunnel tubes. This radical proposal had NOT been discussed by the Merseytravel Board, but had "political backing".

But the aim of Merseytravel is to "suppress" car journeys by Wirral people. Why should people who happen to live on the Wirral be treated differently?

Oddly the car toll on the Dartford Crossing has been 1 since 1996, but on the Mersey Tunnel it was increased to 1.20 in November 1999.


Our evidence to the committee included:-


As well as the Petition we submitted other papers including:-

"There is sometimes an impression that the people using the tunnels are well off and that the people who are not using the tunnels are the disadvantaged and that somehow or other these disadvantaged people are being subsidised by these "three per cent" of well-off people.

The vast proportion of our members are just ordinary working people who have to use the tunnels to get to work or for other purposes. They are not well-off at all and increases in tunnel tolls can hit them substantially and it is not just a question of getting to work.

One of the other main issues is the fact that the tolls inhibit use off peak. They inhibit, in particular people visiting friends or relations who may be on other side of the river.

One of our Committee members is a cleaner who happens to live in Wallasey and work at a library in the north end of Liverpool. She has to be in work for round about half six. The earliest bus is seven o'clock. There is no way that she can get to work apart from the car. Being a cleaner obviously the tunnel toll is a high proportion of her income.

Not only that, and I appreciate this may sound a bit like a sob story, she is a widow and all of her family live in Liverpool. She used to live in Liverpool, she and her husband moved to Wallasey, her husband died shortly afterwards so she frequently has to go back to see her relations because there tends to be some inhibition in Liverpool at frequently using the tunnel. They do not like to pay the tolls basically.

People who live on the Wirral to a large extent are forced to use the tunnel and pay the toll but people in Liverpool, if they can avoid it, do not."

You can see our Petition at:  Petition to Lords
You can see a fuller account of what we said to the Committee at:  What we said!
And a full account of the 2 days at:  Lords - Committee 8 March 2004  and 9 March 2004 

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