M6 Toll – how to get less customers

Before I start my rant, here’s a picture of how Google used to operate in the 1950’s… :)

I had a letter today from the guys at the M6 Toll. It seems that they’re going to ramp up their prices yet again on June 14th 2005.

Here’s the sheet with the new prices….

This comes after traffic has dropped on the road. In August 2004 they had 55,362 use the road every day on averafe, but now it’s around 46,591 per day – which is mentioned on their site with a reference to the previous year. They’ve also just announced operating losses of nearly 30 million quid. A major sticking point for people is the price on this road. If you use a “main toll plaza” you’ll now be paying 3.50 – most people use a main toll on the way to work. A main toll is at either end of the road. Local toll booths are now to be 2.50 to use, so at the end of the day if you’re driving home it’ll be this amount that you’re charged. This 50p rise doesn’t seem like much, but if you use the road every day to go to work and back (which I wouldn’t advise at these prices!) then you’re looking at a 1 increase per day – 5 a week or about 20 a month.

120 a month to use this road to go to work daily ?

Before the price-hike (when it was 3 for main toll, 2 for regular), it would’ve worked out to 100 a month if used daily in the example given. That’s 1,200 per year – now increased to 1,440 per year. Hmmm..

Wait a minute…

When the M6 Toll was busy last August it had 55,362 people use it every day. At the moment it’s around 46,000 – so lets take an average and say that it has 1,500,000 cars using it monthly (50,000 a day). Now let’s say that the average cost per car is 2.75 (2.50 at prices before June for “local traffic” and 3 for “main toll”). Using my highly flawed logic (which doesn’t include trucks, vans or bikes), I’d figure that they’re earning about 4,125,000 per month just from cars. That’s 49,500,000 per year.

That’s a whole lot of money, but far less than they COULD be earning. They were expecting 75,000 cars on it every day. We still don’t know exactly how much it cost to build the M6 Toll as it was privately funded. We believe that CAMBRA, the builders, were given a 485 million contract. Plus – as an example, it costed the Government 20 million just to build the section of road to join the M6 Toll to the M42 and M6.

So even if I was to include trucks and vans into the sums and (purely picking a figure out of the air), say that it earned 60,000,000 million a year, it’s gonna take 8 years to pay for itself, not including the running costs (lighting, toll operators, electricity, blah blah)

So the solution ?

Keep the charge the same for everyone and advertise more ?

NAH!!!!! Increase the costs for the small amount of people using the thing!!! :)

I’m gonna go now – I think I’ve spent far too much time looking at this