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Article: NRA seeks court action over tolls

  • 12-01-2011 10:09am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭


    RT&#201 wrote: »
    The National Roads Authority has said it is seeking to take court action against a number of road toll operators for failing to reduce toll charges.


    In a statement, it said there was a commercial disagreement between the National Roads Authority and a number of toll operators in relation to the applicable 2011 toll rates.



    The NRA said as of January 2011, five tolling operations - M1-Dundalk, M4-Kilcock/Kinnegad, M6 Galway/Ballinasloe, M8-Fermoy and N25-Waterford City Bypass - were required to lower their tolls.
    To date it says only one toll operator, M6 Galway/Ballinasloe, has lowered its tolls.



    According to the NRA, those toll operators that have not reduced the toll rates have put forward a different interpretation of the toll bye-laws to that of the NRA.


    The NRA is now taking the necessary steps to obtain a definitive determination on this matter in the courts.



    The NRA also confirmed that the toll rates applied on the M3 Clonee-Kells, M7/M8 Portlaoise Bypass, Limerick Tunnel, M50 eFlow and Dublin Port Tunnel along with the M6 Galway/Ballinasloe are not the subject of a disagreement.
    http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0112/tolls.html
    Tagged:


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭KevR


    Just in case anyone didn't see the posts in the M6/4 thread - the M6 toll for cars was reduced from €1.90 to €1.80 at the start of the month/year.

    Hopefully the courts will force a 20 or 30 cent reduction in the M4 toll..


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,783 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    I'm glad they're heading to the courts with this. If it was a CIE/etc price rise nothing would be said or done. At least the NRA are asking the question "well how come the rest of you arent lowering your prices".

    Overall the M6 concession seem to be the best of the toll operators. They keep the motorway immaculate and the build standard is the best of all the motorways. And they lowered their prices without having to be asked.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,091 ✭✭✭marmurr1916


    More information from the Irish Times:
    The NRA said it had asked five toll companies who began operating pre-2010 to reduce their tolls in line with the 2010 consumer price index.

    The authority said that its bylaws stated that if the consumer price index fell for a 12-month period, toll operators were required to reduce their charges.

    However, a “commercial disagreement” had emerged, with operators claiming a different interpretation of the bylaws with only one of five toll operators asked to reduce its charges for 2011 doing so.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0112/1224287328715.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,783 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762


    M3 Clonee-Kells, M7/M8 Portlaoise bypass, the Limerick Tunnel and M50 eFlow.

    Now why ARENT these the subject of disagreement too? How come there isnt pressure for these to lower prices? We can forget about the M50 being reduced as thats basically government run, the M3 is a personal baby of Fianna Fail but it doesnt explain the M7/8.


  • Registered Users Posts: 203 ✭✭bacon&cabbage


    Now why ARENT these the subject of disagreement too? How come there isnt pressure for these to lower prices? We can forget about the M50 being reduced as thats basically government run, the M3 is a personal baby of Fianna Fail but it doesnt explain the M7/8.

    not sure, but do they need to be open for 12 months while the consumer price index has also fallen for 12 months ?
    Doesn't explain the M50 though


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,935 ✭✭✭ballsymchugh


    KevR wrote: »
    Just in case anyone didn't see the posts in the M6/4 thread - the M6 toll for cars was reduced from €1.90 to €1.80 at the start of the month/year.

    Hopefully the courts will force a 20 or 30 cent reduction in the M4 toll..

    the m4 toll went up by 10c when the emergency budget upped the VAT rate by 1%. funnily enough, it stayed up when the VAT rate came down again. feckers!


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,476 ✭✭✭ardmacha


    M3 Clonee-Kells, M7/M8 Portlaoise bypass, the Limerick Tunnel and M50 eFlow
    .

    The first 3 of these opened after prices had already fallen so should already reflect this. The M50 is a different arrangement, I suppose.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,214 ✭✭✭cargo


    Have a tag so don't really keep too much of an eye on the price but I noticed the small commercial has gone up to 3.70 on the M50. When did this happen? It used to be 3.40.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭KevR


    the m4 toll went up by 10c when the emergency budget upped the VAT rate by 1%. funnily enough, it stayed up when the VAT rate came down again. feckers!

    Forgot about that!! :mad:


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    Maybe if anyone read the actual byelaws

    "In the event the CPI ... remaining static or showing a decrease on the previous year's figures in any year the Appropriate Tolls shal be fixed by the Toll Company but shall not exceed the Maximum Tolls fixed int he previous year"

    Fred Barry is talking through his arse, like most of his quotes in press releases.

    As I've a tag with Eflow (aka the nra) I'l be querying my bil next time I travel through one of these places and the nra try over charging me...


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Bit of an update from the Irish Times:
    Motorists using a stretch of the M1 motorway are being over-charged by €26,000 a week since January 1st and will be overcharged by some €1.39 million this year unless the tolls are reduced, the National Roads Authority has claimed.

    Some 11 million vehicles used the M1 toll road last year, the Commercial Court heard today.

    The NRA claims motorists using other motorway routes will also be over-charged if its interpretation of the relevant bye-laws is correct.

    Those routes are the N8 Rathcormac/Fermoy by-pass; the N25 Waterford by-pass and the M4 Kinnegad-Enfield-Kilcock motorway.

    Among various claims of the NRA, it rejects arguments the relevant bye-laws provide solely for upwards-only revision of toll charges. It claims the tolls being imposed are in excess of the maximum tolls chargeable under the appropriate formula provided for in the bye-laws.

    Lawyers for the defendant M1 toll operator today queried the consistency of the NRA’s own conduct in relation to the relevant bye-laws. Maurice Collins SC, for Celtic Roads Group (Dundalk) Ltd (CRGD), said the NRA was itself effectively the operator of the M50 and appeared not to have to have reduced tolls there.

    Declan McGrath, for the NRA, said there was no inconsistency between how tolls were applied to the M50 and the NRA’s interpretation of what should apply in relation to the M1 and other motorways. The issue for the court to determine was the proper construction of the relevant bye-laws and the NRA wanted the matter heard urgently, he argued.

    Mr Justice Peter Kelly noted, if the NRA was correct, it was accepted there was no means whereby overcharged motorists would be compensated. In those circumstances, the action should be heard urgently. He fixed it for hearing on February 22nd.

    The NRA’s proceedings are against Celtic Roads Group (Dundalk) Ltd over whether that company has breached the relevant bye-laws in its toll charges for this year on the Gormanstown to Monasterboice stretch of the M1 motorway.

    The NRA claims the defendant company will receiver some €1.39 million this year for charging tolls in excess of what the NRA contends should be the maximum tolls. It claims, according to its calculations, toll charges should have been reduced from January 1st last and, for example, the toll per car should be €1.80, not €1.90 as of now.

    Mr Collins, for CRGD, said his side believed there were issues about the NRA’s own operation of the M50 route and about what it had accepted concerning other routes and he would be seeking documents from the NRA to that effect.

    He agreed the case was essentially about the proper construction of the relevant bye-laws but said there may also be issues about the NRA’s previous stance on these matters and whether the M50 bye-laws have been operated in the same way. It seemed tolls on the M50 had not been reduced, he said.

    The NRA could not argue for a particular construction of a bye-law if it operated those in the same way, counsel said.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0124/breaking53.html


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,444 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011


    Did the NRA not actually adjust the M50 pricing at one stage anyway? Nearly certain my van went down 10c in 2010.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,214 ✭✭✭cargo


    MYOB wrote: »
    Did the NRA not actually adjust the M50 pricing at one stage anyway? Nearly certain my van went down 10c in 2010.

    See my earlier comment re 3.40 v 3.70 on the M50 but imagine my surprise when I logged onto eflow and checked the price of a small van and it said €4.00..... really should read my statements more often..

    When did all these increases happen? Was it ever 3.40?


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,444 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011


    i've a car adapted van, think it might be 2.70 i pay? Would have to check


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    Tremelo wrote: »
    Bit of an update from the Irish Times:

    Is this actually sub judice now? so we should be careful on boards.ie


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭Amtmann


    Is this actually sub judice now? so we should be careful on boards.ie

    This is what one of our legal eagles said when I asked them to review the thread:
    So far the thread is only quoting newspaper source discussing the circumstances of the case being taken rather than the facts of the case and the other posters are not actually directly discussing the case, but rather their opinions on charges really.

    Not to mention I believe the LRC followed by caselaw which I cannot remember stated that the sub judice rule is not convincing where the case is before judge and not jury.

    Certainly open to correction on that, but off the top of my head I remember reading that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭KevR


    RT&#201 wrote: »
    Toll company battling overcharging case

    Updated: 15:41, Tuesday, 22 February 2011

    The company operating the toll road on the M1 motorway expected that tolls would only ever go up and not down, the Commercial Court has been told.
    000389e1-314.jpg
    Tolls - NRA says M1 price should have fallen by 10 cent

    Related Stories

    The court is hearing an action taken by the National Roads Authority against the company operating the toll road.

    The NRA claims the company is overcharging motorists.

    The authority says the Celtic Roads Group (Dundalk) Ltd is not interpreting the relevant by-laws correctly and stands to make €26,000 a week or €1.39m a year by overcharging motorists.

    The NRA says the toll should have been reduced on 1 January this year from €1.90 to €1.80 per car and the court has heard there is no way of repaying motorists who have been overcharged.

    The case has implications for other toll roads, as the operators of the M4 toll road, the M8 and N25 roads have also refused to lower their prices.

    Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told today that the tolling company is claiming it had a legitimate expectation, including a promise from the former Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, that tolls would only go up.

    The court heard that Mr Dempsey told the Dáil in June last year that the by-laws provide for an upward only review of tolls.

    The NRA says that the by-laws do not make any express reference to an upward only toll system and in fact provide a mechanism to allow for a decrease.

    Senior Counsel Shane Murphy said the company was advocating an interpretation of the by-laws which would insulate them from all external realities.

    He said that the Minister's statement could not be regarded as a 'promise' as it was said after the contract between the NRA and the company was finalised in 2004.

    The court has heard that the Consumer Price Index - which is used to calculate the maximum toll allowed - fell in 2009 for the first time in 50 years.

    The by-laws allow for a 'cushion' of a year - so tolls did not fall.
    But the court was told that after the Price Index rose very slightly in 2010, the NRA says the calculation to be applied showed the toll should now decrease.

    Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed that the calculation used to work out the maximum allowable toll was 'labyrinthine' and remarked 'there must be an easier way to do this'.
    http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0222/roads.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,503 ✭✭✭veryangryman


    Just a general thinking...

    What if the state wins this case - where does the money go?


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,444 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011


    The overcharged money? I'd presume tag holders could demand it back - I'm sure some large haulage companies will be protesting for it; that taken off cash punters I suspect will be symbolically donated to charity or taken by the NRA.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,091 ✭✭✭marmurr1916


    Without commenting on the specifics of this case, surely it's not beyond the wit of the NRA's legal team to draft contracts that are clear and unambiguous?

    It should be made absolutely clear to toll operators, in legal and contractual terms that leave no room for interpretation, that index-linked changes to toll charges mean that they can fall as well as rise.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,057 ✭✭✭Tragedy


    If the court supports the NRA, surely the easiest way to 'refund' customers is to force the toll group to lower their tolls by a further 10c for the same duration for which they overcharged customers?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,503 ✭✭✭veryangryman


    Without commenting on the specifics of this case, surely it's not beyond the wit of the NRA's legal team to draft contracts that are clear and unambiguous?

    It should be made absolutely clear to toll operators, in legal and contractual terms that leave no room for interpretation, that index-linked changes to toll charges mean that they can fall as well as rise.

    Dude - this is the civil service were talking about here. If things werent unclear and unambiguous, half of these people wouldnt have jobs due to the increased efficincies


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭KevR


    Delighted!! Hopefully they won't appeal.

    Does this mean the other toll operators have to drop their prices from midnight or will the NRA have to take each of them to court?

    I wonder what the actual reduction on the M4 toll will be? It works out to be a 15 cent reduction but am I right in saying they round round toll charges to the nearest 10 cent?? They should have to round it down to €2.70. I'll be really annoyed if it only gets cut to €2.80 (i.e. - if they are allowed to round it up)..


    RT&#201 wrote: »
    M1 tolls to drop after court ruling
    Updated: 15:15, Friday, 11 March 2011

    Tolls on the M1 motorway will drop from midnight after a High Court ruling.
    000389e1-314.jpg
    Tolls on the M1 motorway will drop from midnight after the High Court ruled that the company operating the toll has been overcharging drivers since January.

    Mr Justice Peter Kelly ruled that Celtic Roads Group (Dundalk) Ltd had misinterpreted the by-laws for the calculation of tolls.

    The NRA had claimed Celtic Roads Group (Dundalk) Limited had been overcharging drivers since the first of January this year. The authority said the company did not interpret the relevant by-laws correctly and stood to make €26,000 a week or €1.39m a year by overcharging motorists.

    The NRA said the toll should have been reduced on January 1 this year from €1.90 to €1.80 per car because the Consumer Price Index, which is used to calculate the toll had fallen in August 2009.

    The court has heard that there is no way of repaying motorists who have been overcharged.

    The case has implications for other toll roads, as the operators of the M4 toll road, the M8 and N25 roads also refused to lower their prices.
    Mr Justice Peter Kelly said in light of his decision in favour of the NRA the overcharging should 'cease forthwith'.

    Lawyers for the company indicated that tolls would be reduced from midnight tonight in accordance with the judgment.

    The company will however take time to consider the judgment before deciding if it is to appeal. The court agreed to place a stay on costs pending that decision.
    http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0311/toll-business.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 ✭✭✭antoobrien


    KevR wrote: »
    Delighted!! Hopefully they won't appeal.

    Does this mean the other toll operators have to drop their prices from midnight or will the NRA have to take each of them to court?

    I wonder what the actual reduction on the M4 toll will be? It works out to be a 15 cent reduction but am I right in saying they round round toll charges to the nearest 10 cent?? They should have to round it down to €2.70. I'll be really annoyed if it only gets cut to €2.80 (i.e. - if they are allowed to round it up)..



    http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0311/toll-business.html

    The bye-laws are available here: http://www.nra.ie/GeneralTollingInformation/StatutoryNotices/
    and the resulting amount shall be rounded up or down to the nearest 10 cent

    If you're right it's going to be 2.80, as 5 is always rounded up (see spreadsheet formulas etc)

    Does you know how to calculate the current CPI given the 1996 base? - my figures are usually out


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭KevR


    Not too sure how it's calculated exactly but I'm just after seeing this document through the link you posted and the NRA reckon the M4 toll should be reduced to €2.70 :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,303 ✭✭✭dowlingm


    In theory they should have to adjust the prerounding figure further down to account for their ill gotten gains earlier in the year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭KevR


    Drove to Dublin and back yesterday - the M4 toll is now €2.70 for cars. At least it's a little better value now..


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,503 ✭✭✭veryangryman


    KevR wrote: »
    Drove to Dublin and back yesterday - the M4 toll is now €2.70 for cars. At least it's a little better value now..

    Yeah saw that too.

    M1 crowd are a disgrace. What a pile of money grabbers. yes they should be forced to lower the toll an extra bit for a couple of months as Furet mentions - ignorance of the law is not an excuse


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,110 ✭✭✭KevR


    Or let them keep the tolls at their current level (€1.80 and €2.70) but make them hand over all their ill gotten gains (01/01/2011 --> 22/03/2011) to the NRA and that money can then be used to make some badly needed small improvements elsewhere on the road network.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,476 ✭✭✭ardmacha


    I suggested in a similar thread in motors that they not be allowed an increase, when one is required, until 11th March rather than 1st Jan.


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