The delightful people at Midland Expressway Limited have come up with an ingenious pricing system. I looked up their prices online and decided that while they were rather high at £4.70 for a car decided I would stomach the cost for the time saving. Imagine my surprise at being asked to pay £9.40 (the same as if I was driving an HGV) when I pulled up at the toll booth. I spluttered and burbled a bit, only to be told that vehicles over 1.3m high were charged differently. If I had not have been so flustered by this alarming news I might have pointed out that many “normal” cars are over 1.3m (the Ford Mondeo clocks in around 1.4 for example). However, I simply handed over my credit card (having run out of cash). On reaching my destination I checked out the website and found that in fact the height measurement is at the front axle. Now, I drive a Toyota Liteace people carrier, which is quite diminutive in length and width, but on the tall side at just under 2m. However, because those clever Japanese car makers have made use of all the available space, the front end is like a cliff, and the driver is sitting almost directly over the front wheels. So, height and front axle is about the same as maximum height. Now, if I had say, a Land Rover 130 I would be charged as any other car (my understanding is they meet the 1.3m at front axle). Said vehicle is 130mm taller than mine, 140mm wider, over a metre longer and weighs nearly twice as much.
Moral of this story? If you have a compact, lightweight, but van shaped people carrier, avoid using the M6 Toll, the Trolls will get you.
Image: (CC) Amanda Oliver, www.flickr.com/photos/the_amanda/