Saturday, August 02, 2008

M50 tolling - a joke on motorists

{First the important question: will there be any toll booths on the Westlink Bridge by the end of this month? If yes, then ignore what I say below because I'll just keep paying at the toll booth.}

From the end of next month we'll have to pay more to use the Westlink Bridge. There are all sorts of ways to slice it, but no one is going to be able to cross the bridge at the current rate of €2 per crossing.

I only rarely use the Westlink - mostly going to the airport or further north. Therefore, it's not worth it to me to set up an account - administration costs are €12 per annum - so that option's out. That leaves me with two other options: pre-pay €2.50 per trip or pay after I use the bridge at a cost of €3 per trip. This is a total pain in the backside, which is the intent, I imagine.

Whether I choose to pre-pay or post-pay, I have the same choices: make an online purchase - always an annoying process - or pay at a registered Payzone outlet. I'm always reluctant to make the required effort for an online purchase and if the purchase is small enough I almost surely won't bother. Therefore, I will have to go to a registered Payzone outlet.

Of course there are no official Payzone outlets near me, which means I have to drive to a store to pay my toll. I presume, I'll have to hand over details to people in shops about me and my car. To be honest, I don't appreciate having to tell people I only barely trust to take my €2 for a newspaper that I'll be out of the house today or tomorrow.

Then there's the last option. Thanks to this hassle and the cost involved I will be much more inclined to drive towards Dublin and use the Eastlink Bridge/Dublin Port Tunnel route instead. Fewer miles, often less traffic and, at the weekend, only a marginal increase in the tolls. And, also, far less aggravation.