M6 toll road runs at half-capacity

A government plan to sell off some of the UK's road infrastructure to private companies flies in the face of a recent move to charge drivers to use a motorway, opponents have claimed.

The M6 toll in the West Midlands was opened in 2003 and has raised the amount it charges people eight times in just nine years.

As a result, it now carries less than half the number of vehicles it was built for, suggesting it has long been struck off thejourney planner list.

Businesses in the area say people avoid using the 27-mile motorway section because the price of using it is too high.

The M6 toll starts just north of Birmingham Airport at junction 4 and ends at Cannock in Staffordshire at junction 11A.

It was supposed to help reduce traffic jams on the busy motorway but the high charges applied to drivers have undermined this.

The toll road was designed to accommodate as many as 74,000 vehicles a day. But during October to December 2011 only around 34,000 vehicles were recorded as the daily average.

Vehicle numbers have gone up and down over the years but the tendency is for them to fall gradually, roughly corresponding with the rising toll charges.

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