As excitement builds in anticipation of the visit of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex, Halton Borough Council is revealing more details about the event and how young people will be at the centre of the celebrations.
On the morning of Thursday 14 June, Her Majesty and the Duchess of Sussex will carry out their first engagement together when they visit Halton to officially open the Mersey Gateway Bridge.
Having arrived at Runcorn Station, they will travel to the Catalyst Science and Discovery Museum, where the opening event will take place in full view of the iconic bridge.
Guests will include many of those who have helped to make the bridge a reality including local politicians, partners from across the region, community volunteers, staff from the construction consortium and operating teams.
But front and centre on the day, will be around 600 local primary school children, who have been invited to join in the celebrations. In anticipation of the day, children and teachers have been sharing their thoughts:
Maya Neal, Age 9, from Victoria Road Primary School, Runcorn said: “I am so excited to be able to see the Queen and the Duchess because it is a once in a life time opportunity. I feel very lucky that our school was chosen to take part.”
Karl Landrum Headteacher at St Gerard’s Catholic Primary and Nursery School from school said: “It is a honour for our children to be able to witness the official opening of the bridge which is only a few minutes away from our school and therefore part of our school community; I wish all of the organisers lots of luck with such an exciting event for Halton.”
Amelia, Luke, Grace and Mason, Yr 4 pupils at All Saints Upton said:”We can’t believe we are getting the opportunity to see the opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge. We have loved watching it get built. We have waited our whole lives to see royalty and now get to see the Queen and the Duchess of Susex so soon after seeing her wedding.”
One local schoolchild, Savannah Cafferty, whose birthday falls on the the day the Mersey Gateway opened to traffic – will have an extra special role on the day, presenting a posy to one of the royal party, she said: “When I found out I was going to have a special job on the day I asked ‘Why me?’ I am really happy and excited as the Queen is like a Mother to Britain and she has helped us through trouble. My nan was at the opening of the Silver Jubilee Bridge.”
Savannah’s proud Head Teacher at Farnworth CE Primary School said: “The opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge is a special moment in Halton’s history and I am thrilled that children from my school will be part of this historic event. The Bridge has made travelling from Widnes to Runcorn and beyond so much easier and it is a spectacular sight in itself. It makes me proud to be a Halton resident knowing that HRH, the Queen and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are marking the opening of this bridge.”
In addition, local school children will perform a specially commissioned performance of dance and movement, directed by the locally based, Andrew Curphey Theatre Company. Entitled “Bringing Communities together: Bridges of Halton”. The moving piece features 80 children and young people from schools across the borough and tells the story of the many crossings that have existed over the Mersey connecting Widnes and Runcorn through the ages.
On the day, access around Runcorn Station and at the Catalyst Science and Discovery Museum will be restricted. However, members of the public who want to see the Royal party, are advised to go as close as is safely possible to Runcorn Station and Catalyst Science and Discovery Centre. Stewards and the Police will be in both areas for crowd management.
The public is reminded that cyclists and pedestrians are prohibited from the Mersey Gateway Bridge.
Enquiries about the event should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Newly released figures show that traffic levels across the Mersey Gateway Bridge were higher than expected over the first six months since it opened.
Merseyflow customers, commuters, local residents and other people interested in the Mersey Gateway Bridge can now see key statistics relating to the bridge with the launch of a new customer dashboard.
The dashboard provides a range of graphs and statistics that show detailed information on the number of crossings made, average daily traffic figures, types of vehicles using the bridge, the number of penalty charge notices issued, revenue figures and traffic by registration type.
During the first six months since opening:
- more than 10-million journeys were made across the new bridge,
- 96% of drivers paid for their crossings before the payment deadline
- 80% of journeys were made in vehicles registered with merseyflow
- over 70,000 journeys were made across the bridge most weekdays, which is in excess of projected traffic levels – the exception is a dip around the holiday period in December and January
- between 20 and 26% of monthly revenue came from PCNs – All revenue, either from tolls or PCNs, contributes towards payment for the new bridge; it is not retained by the Council or any of its contractors.
The dashboard provides a quick and easy way to view key statistics about the bridge and tolls.
It can be viewed at www.merseyflow.co.uk and www.merseygateway.co.uk/mersey-gateway-statistics-dashboard/ with the initial publication showing figures from the bridge’s opening on October 14, 2017 until the end of March 2018.
Moving forward the dashboard will be issued every three months to give an updated picture.
Paul Fenwick, Chief Executive of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: “This is part of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board and merseyflow’s commitment to be transparent and to provide everyone who uses the bridge with accurate and reliable data on its operation.
The fact that traffic volumes are slightly higher than we estimated is good news and we’re working hard with our colleagues at merseyflow to continue to increase the number of people paying on time so we can minimise the number of PCNs issued to commuters.”
Anthony Alicastro, Managing Director of merseyflow said: “The dashboard gives customers an at-a-glance view of how the bridge is performing and shows just how much traffic is using the crossing and benefitting from quicker, easier and more reliable journeys.”
“We want bridge users to have this information at their fingertips and we’ll publish an updated dashboard every three months with the latest figures.”
MGCB statement in response to Traffic Penalty Tribunal’s decision on review hearing that took place on 8th May
A spokesperson for the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board said:
“We are disappointed by this decision.
We will now take time to review today’s decision with our external legal advisors and consider our next steps.
Since 19th April 2018 a new Charging Order has been in place.
This new Charging Order now regulates the tolling on Mersey Gateway and it’s really important that everyone who uses the crossing pays their toll charge to avoid the risk of getting a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).”
A Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) public hearing took place this week (8th May) to review decisions made previously by the TPT in relation to five individual appeals to Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) issued following non-payment of the Mersey Gateway toll.
A spokesperson for the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board said: “The new Charging Order that came into effect on the 19th April 2018 now regulates tolling on Mersey Gateway, so it is very much business as usual today and it’s really important that everyone pays their toll charges to avoid the risk of getting a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
The five cases were brought under the 2017 Road User Charging Scheme Order which has now been superseded. We’re pleased that the review hearing has taken place and that we have had the opportunity to clearly explain our case. We look forward to receiving the review adjudicator’s decision when published.”
Even more drivers will receive unlimited travel over the Mersey Gateway Bridge following Council approval of new Road User Charging Scheme Order
Halton Borough Council last night [18th April 2018] approved a new Road User Charging Scheme Order (RUCSO) for the Mersey Gateway Bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge (SJB) which will see even more people receive unlimited crossings.
The Council made the decision to approve the new RUCSO based on the findings of a public consultation which took place between 8th March and 29th March 2018.
Over six thousand individuals, businesses and public organisations responded to the consultation which asked for views on proposed changes to the existing 2017 RUSCO. The results can be found here.
The new 2018 RUCSO will be effective immediately and will replace the existing 2017 RUCSO.
As a result, the following changes have been made to the tolling scheme:
Halton Local User Support Scheme (introduced which replaces the Halton Local User Discount Scheme Economic Hardship Scheme)
- Those residents living in Council Tax Band G&H properties in apprenticeships1 or in full time education2 who were previously ineligible to apply for the Local User Discount Scheme (LUDS), can now apply under the new Halton Local User Support Scheme.
Halton residents otherwise eligible for the LUDS with disabilities
- Halton residents who have a disability3 but are not eligible for a Blue Badge and whose disability prevents them from driving, will be able to register a vehicle to benefit from unlimited crossings under the LUDS when they are travelling in the vehicle for a £10 annual fee.
- Further vehicles registered by the emergency services when being used for the purpose of delivering these services, whether or not marked and not already covered by exemptions;
- further ambulance vehicles whether carrying patients or not and registered by the ambulance service and;
- vehicles used for the transport of blood, plasma or human organs will be able to be added onto the exemptions register4.
- Agricultural tractors will be able to be added onto the exemptions register for use of the SJB only with exemptions allowed on the Mersey Gateway Bridge in the interim, until the SJB reopens.
Classification of Motor Homes
- Motor Home Vehicles will be designated as Class 2, the same classification as applies to private cars.
The following will remain unchanged:
- The toll charges*
- The Penalty Charge rates**
- The LUDS criteria with respect to properties in Council Tax Bands G&H
We would invite those users who may be affected by the changes to contact Merseyflow on email@example.com or 01928 878 878 to discuss options available.
No refunds will be given for toll fees incurred prior to the new arrangements becoming effective.
Any user who wishes to get more information about the new Halton Local User Discount Support Scheme must contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Under the age of 20 and studying for at least 12 hours per week on a course which lasts for more than three months for any qualification up to A level, ONC or OND standard (correspondence courses, evening classes or courses taken in connection with a person’s job, such as on day release, are not included).
2 Enrolled for the purpose of attending a university or college course which lasts for at least one academic year, normally requires attendance of at least 24 weeks a year and involves on average at least 21 hours of study, tuition or work experience per week during term time.
3 Halton resident and in receipt of one of the following: the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance; Attendance Allowance; Enhanced rate of the mobility component of the Personal Independence Allowance; and/or the War Pensioners Mobility Supplement.
4 All vehicles eligible to be added onto the exemptions register must still register their vehicles for a £5 fee.
*Toll charges can be found in full at www.merseyflow.co.uk.
**Penalty Charge – £40 plus toll charge; £20 plus toll charge if paid withing 14 days; £60 plus toll charge if paid within 42 days. If unpaid beyond 42 days after issue the penalty will be registered as a civil debt. More information can be found at www.merseyflow.co.uk/faqs/penalties.