At one minute to midnight on August 30, the Republic’s West-Link toll plaza barriers will rise for the last time and motorists will no longer be forced to stop and pay a toll for using the M50.
Instead, they will be given three new payment options — buying a tag, which will see the trip costing €2; opening a video account which will lead to a €2.50 charge; or using a ‘pay-as-you-go’ system, where the motorist must pay the €3 toll by 8pm the following day. Anyone who passes between Junction 6 and Junction 7 will have to pay.
The electronic toll collection system records a trip by either ‘reading’ a tag, or the vehicle number plate, using cameras mounted on gantries. A tag is an electronic device the size of a mobile phone, which is mounted on the windscreen of the vehicle. In a car, it is mounted behind the rear-view mirror, and in a truck it is mounted at the bottom centre of the windscreen.
Frequent users of the motorway should buy a tag, and there are seven operators in the market. Tags work on any tolled road in the country. Drivers register with the provider and give vehicle details, home address and bank or credit/debit card details.
The cost of buying the tag varies. It’s free with provider www.eflow.ie but €35.20 with minitag.ie. Each M50 trip is recorded on the tag owner’s account, and the account can be pre-paid by topping-up, or post-paid monthly. Using a tag incurs the cheapest toll of €2 per car.
The video account option also requires registration, and the computer system will record the vehicle’s number plate before registering the toll against the account. It only works on the M50 and the toll is €2.50. While the accounts can be pre- or post-paid, there is no administration fee.
The final option is pay-as-you go. The toll must be paid by 8pm the following day by logging onto www.eflow.ie. Motorists can pay by credit or debit card by calling the 24-hour call centre at 1890 501050, or going into any of the shops with a ‘payzone’ sign.