Tamar Crossings operates a pre-paid electronic tolling system, TamarTag, at both crossings, and there are currently approximately 55,000 TamarTag accounts in use. Around 60% of all crossings are paid for using TamarTag and in peak periods that proportion is nearer 80%.
The toll system is undergoing a major upgrade and during the past 12 months new equipment has been progressively installed in the toll booths at the Tamar Bridge in readiness for the launch of the upgraded system. This has included introducing an option for contactless card payments.
Work has also taken place to upgrade the system on the Torpoint Ferry, with the improved technology providing ferry collectors with new faster and lighter toll equipment, and access to the latest available balance for tag accounts rather than taking up to 24 hours for it to show. Work is also continuing on developing a contactless card payment option at the ferries.
The upgrade is now reaching its final stages, and the last big step is the transition of ‘back office’ systems scheduled to begin late evening on Monday 23 November and to be completed by Wednesday 25 November.
This process will initially involve closing down the TamarTag section of the website at 10pm on the Monday evening. This will enable all of the existing 55,000 TamarTag accounts to be moved onto the new system. This will include transferring the current account holder information as well as historical data for those accounts, and connecting banking and payment services to the new system.
While account holders can use their tags during this transition period, they will not be able to top up their accounts so all service users are being asked to check their balances during the weekend before transfer (21 and 22 November) and to top up their accounts if necessary.
Users paying by cash or using the contactless card payment option at the bridge will not be affected by this work.
The transition to the new system is expected to be completed by the end of Wednesday, 25 November, with the Tamar Tag section of the website re-opening the following morning after testing.
The electronic payment system was introduced in 2007 to shorten payment transaction times and thereby increase the throughput capacity of the toll system. The upgrade has been designed to make the system easier and quicker for account holders to use.
In the coming months, we will activate specific improvements which include a new process which can be selected by account holders to automatically top up their accounts when their balances drop below the low balance level, an automatic replacement system for older tags before they fail, and the introduction of fully online account applications. Final testing and trialling of the new system has been carried out during the past few weeks, together with training for staff.
Significant changes have also been made to the TamarTag website to make it more user friendly and ensure that it can incorporate future changes in technology. Existing web users will be able to use current details to access the new website.
The main area of the Tamar Crossings website and the organisation’s social media channels will remain open to provide updates and information.
While the new system will be in place by Thursday, 26 November, the volume of information being processed means that the website is likely to be slower than usual for the remainder of the week so please bear with us during this period.