The M6 toll-motorway opened today, surprisingly a month earlier than planned. I don’t often travel that way, but when I have, getting through that section has been a nightmare. My only worry is that you have to pull in at a toll booth to pay your two quid. So there you are, belting down the m-way at 70mph (honest, officer) only to come to a grinding halt to hand over your cash.
It will be interesting to see what the queues are like. Could be a choice of sitting, twiddling your thumbs on the M6, or sitting, twiddling your thumbs on the M6 and paying for the privilege. Mind you, anything that bypasses Birmingham has to be a good thing!
Toll roads are a bit of a throwback for us in the UK. Much of the road network is based on the original turnpikes built to link towns and which you had to pay to use. The toll collectors were unpopular figures, such as Joseph Sampson who took money to cross the Alma Bridge between Dukinfield and Ashton. It was bought by the towns in 1902 to much celebration and free beer and meat pies, and an effigy of Joseph and the toll booth and gate were burnt. One hundred years later and we’re back to square one. Great thing, progress.