THE introduction of an online pass for a Trafford toll bridge that costs 12p to cross has received a mixed reception.

Bosses say the new system will end the misery of daily tailbacks caused by drivers stopping at the toll booth.

But it has been branded a ‘joke’ by an action group campaigner and too expensive by commuters who use the Warburton Toll Bridge.

Bridge owner Peel Ports says the new way of paying for the pass online makes it ‘simple’ to use, with the price of the yearly ticket is £60 plus VAT.

The former secretary of Warburton Toll Bridge Action Group, Maggie Carter, is not convinced introducing a new payment method will end the traffic jams though.

“The only thing that has changed is that Peel has got its act together and provided a way for people to actually buy the pass,” she said.

“But the cost will put people off because it works out more expensive than paying the daily fee ­— there’s just no incentive.

“And it certainly will not put an end to the traffic queues and congested roads.

“It’s nothing more than a joke.”

Currently, the carriageway is the only route across the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal between the M6 and M60 motorways.

But the area is plagued with regular traffic jams as motorists queue to pay the small fee.

And the gridlocked stretch of road is a real headache for residents.

Last year they had resorted to handing over bulk payments from their own pockets to help speed up crossings over the bridge, which they say has left them ‘prisoners in their own homes’.

A member on the action group Facebook page wrote on Saturday: “That will save a magnificent £5 over a year if you work five days for 52 weeks ­— seems hardly worth bothering with.”

“I would not even pay £5 for a year. Must be made free. Nothing else will speed the traffic up,” wrote another.

A third said: “With VAT that’s £72 and equates to 600 trips! If you factor in weekends, bank holidays and annual leave approximately 150 days you wouldn’t necessarily use the bridge. It’s not worth it.”

James Wright, head of investment and regeneration at Trafford council, has welcomed the new system.

“The new pass is an excellent idea and will help to ease congestion ­— and I would urge drivers to sign up to the scheme,” he said.

The comments were echoed by the chief executive of Peel Ports, Mark Whitworth.

“The more people that have the annual pass, the more it will ease congestion,” he said.

“Therefore, we have launched a new website and a user-friendly payment system to encourage more people to take up the pass.”

Peel Ports says, due to an Act of Parliament, there is a legal obligation to charge everyone who crosses the bridge ­— with the toll currently priced at 12p one way and 25p for a day ticket.

The firm said that toll revenue goes towards the maintenance of the bridge, repairs to the carriageway, utilities and services.

There are plans in the pipeline to make improvements such as new turning areas, road resurfacing ­— and an increase in vehicle weight limit.

For more information about the annual charge visit