Toll income on the country’s busiest road, the M50, surged 13% to €140 million last year 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 – falls short of the pre-pandemic M50 toll income of €160m in 2019.
The report states that traffic volumes and revenue in 2021 were above 2020 levels but were still impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, particularly during the first half of the year.
The report stated that the Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) for the M50 eFlow Toll in 2021 was 123,667 trips, an increase of 13% on the 109,150 trips in 2020 but remaining below 2019 levels.
There were 45.1 million passages recorded on the toll road which is an increase of 13% from 39.9 million in 2020. The number of kilometres travelled by motorists on the route last year was 1.26 billion which was a 10% decrease on 2020 while the number of traffic collisions last year totalled 475.
The overall estimated tolling compliance rate with the road tolling system in place was 96.8% in 2021. TII says 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 levels of congestion on the M50 corridor and radials.
The report shows that toll income on the Dublin Port Tunnel also recovered from €12.09m to €13.73m – 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% of pre-COVID-19 levels with total Luas passenger journeys amounted to 19.5 million in 2021, compared to 48.4 million passengers in 2019, but slightly up on 2020.
A joint statement by chairman, Gareth Llewellyn and chief executive, Peter Walsh in the report says that the negative trend in anti-social behaviour observed during 2020 across the public transport network in Dublin continued to impact the Luas network in 2021, particularly during periods where significant public health restrictions were in place.
“We recorded a significant increase in anti-social behaviour incidents during the first half of 2021, which peaked in April,” they say.
“This gradually improved during the second and third quarters of 2021, coinciding with the reintroduction of ticket checking on the network, increased passenger numbers and various security initiatives.”
The spend by TII last year totalled €1.6 billion that included €1.44 billion on the road network and €125.69 million on light rail and metro. Numbers earning over €100,00 at TII last year totalled 48.