Lorry fleet tries out new M6Toll charging technology

Julie Davies from Midland Expressway with Craig Bickley from Maritime Transport and Sarah Gourlay from Midland Expressway with the first of the Maritime fleet to have number plates registered with M6 Toll

Maritime, one of the UK’s largest logistics operators, began sending container trucks from its fleet onto the M6toll road today, to officially commence live trials of the new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system.

The company’s trucks are the first vehicles to pay for their journeys on the 43km M6toll, between Cannock and Coleshill, via the ANPR tolling system.

Following Maritime’s trial, a number of other logistics operators will join the pilot project over the coming weeks and months.

The cameras will identify licence plate data, removing the need for card payments at the toll plazas and replacing them with a remote payment system. It will enable seamless end to end journeys and mean customers can manage all transactions via the M6toll website, whether for a single vehicle or larger fleets spread across a number of depots.

The ANPR cameras are part of M6toll owner Midland Expressway’s plan for a multi-million-pound investment to transform the existing tolling infrastructure. This will also include a new customer relationship management system and e-commerce systems, implemented as part of a strategy to drive growth and increase choice for customers.

Paul Heyhoe, fleet director at Felixstowe-based Maritime, said: “We are delighted to be the first business to trial the new ANPR based M6tolling system.

“The M6toll already provides an invaluable route through the Midlands by avoiding congestion on local routes and the addition of this new technology will help to further enhance that journey experience.

“With the new ANPR cameras offering a centralised user system, it means our fleet is ready to roll as soon as they leave the depots.

For our drivers, it will provide a hassle-free experience end to end on the M6toll, with no stopping at the plazas so further efficiencies delivered during their journeys.

“We look forward to being the first operator to experience the new technology and to provide feedback on how the new tolling system works for a business.”

Julie Davies, commercial director at Midland Expressway, said: “We welcome Maritime as our first customer to experience the new transformational tolling system.

“The M6toll has a commitment to ensuring the road remains the most reliable, efficient and cost-effective choice for HGV and commercial fleet operators, and this pilot project is another key part of that ongoing strategic approach.

“The new tolling system is part of the wider ‘Road Ahead’ digital transformation programme we have in place for the M6toll, where we will be upgrading not only the tolling technology on the road itself, but also the customer service systems we use behind the scenes.

We are committed to providing hassle-free journeys and outstanding customer service, and continuing to invest in the most innovative technology available is central to delivering on that promise.”

The M6toll’s long-term ‘Road Ahead’ investment strategy has been developed to support its commitment to improving congestion and connectivity, nationally and across the West Midlands.

The M6toll, which opened in 2003, takes 50,000 vehicles away from the M6 and local roads every day.