TT2 Limited, the operators of the Tyne Tunnels, is announcing the launch of a pay later system to help protect staff and customers against the spread of coronavirus.

TT2, announced last year that it planned to move towards a system where customers could decide whether to pre-pay or pay after their journey, is withdrawing the current credit or debit card payment option, instead providing an invoice to be paid by midnight the following day.

Customers who do not have a pre-pay account or cash for the toll will press a ‘pay later’ button at the tolls and receive the automatically-generated invoice. This can be paid online, via the Tyne Tunnels website.

This will reduce close contact between customers and staff, as well as moving forward with TT2 Limited’s plans to make journeys through the tunnels quicker and easier for customers.

The new ‘pay later’ button will be launched in early May.

Phil Smith, Chief Executive of TT2 Limited, said: “At the Tyne Tunnels, we take the health and safety of our staff and customers extremely seriously. The team have done incredibly well so far to ensure that, as far as we could, social distancing measures were met but this was difficult when customers need assistance. But we’re in a position where we can offer this ‘pay later’ option, so we’re delighted to get it off the ground.

“The most convenient way to pay is still using a pre-pay account, where our ANPR software recognises your number plate and automatically lifts the barrier. However, for those who have not signed up and find themselves without at the barrier without the right coins, they have the option to pay later, rather than paying by card or waiting for a customer operations agent to bring them change.

“Customers can still pay with coins, should they wish, and the change machines are still available ahead of each toll plaza for customers with bank notes. We will maintain a staffed presence on the plazas to support our customers.

“Credit and debit card are the slowest way to pay at the tolls and we hope that the new pay later system will speed up everyone’s journey in addition to supporting social distancing. This will also help customers when the lockdown is lifted and traffic levels return back to normal.”