Toll income on M50 rises by 13% as traffic volumes recover in wake of pandemic

Revenue still shy of amount achieved in 2019

Toll income on the country’s busiest road, the M50, last year rose 13 per cent to €140 million as traffic volumes recovered from the early phases of the pandemic.

The 2021 annual report by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) shows, however, that the €140 million in toll income — which includes €7.5 million in penalty income — fell short of the pre-pandemic income of €160 million in 2019.

The report said that traffic volumes and revenue in 2021 were above 2020 levels but were still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, particularly during the first half of the year.

READ MORE

According to the report annual average daily traffic for the M50 eFlow Toll in 2021 was 123,667 trips, an increase of 13 per cent on the 109,150 trips in 2020 but below 2019 levels.

There were 45.1 million trips recorded on the toll road which is an increase of 13 per cent from the 39.9 million recorded in 2020.

The number of kilometres travelled by motorists on the route last year was 1.26 billion which was a 10 per cent reduction on 2020 while the number of traffic collisions last year was 475.

The overall estimated tolling compliance rate with the road tolling system in place was 96.8 per cent in 2021.

Capacity constraints

TII said that the rate of growth of traffic volumes on the M50 is expected to decline over the short to medium term due to network capacity constraints and increasing congestion on the corridor and radial roads.

The report shows that toll income on the Dublin Port Tunnel also recovered from €12.09 million to €13.73 million — though well short of pre-pandemic toll income of €22.9 million.

The report also reveals that Luas patronage during 2021 remained significantly depressed at about 40 per cent of pre-Covid levels with total Luas passenger journeys amounting to 19.5 million in 2021, compared to 48.4 million passengers in 2019, but slightly up on 2020.

TII last year spent €1.6 billion which included €1.44 billion on the road network and €125.69 million on light rail and metro planning.

The number of employees earning more than €100,000 at TII last year totalled 48.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times