A Lexus, a Land Rover Range Rover, a Mercedes Benz CLS and an Audi A5 are just four of the car models seized from motorists who racked up large bills concerning the non-payment on M50 tolls last year according to new figures from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
The data shows 94 vehicles were seized by the Dublin sheriff from motorists who had not paid off their M50 bills for the first 10 months of 2021.
This compares to 30 vehicles for the same period in 2020 - an increase of 213 per cent.
A spokesman for TII said the outstanding M50 bills where the sheriff seized vehicles for the first 10 months of last year range from €5,000 to €15,000. Those bills must be paid off before motorists can reclaim their cars.
Some other car models seized included a BMW 640, a Kia Sportage, a BMW 520, a Ford Kuga, a Toyota Landcruiser and a Nissan Qashqai.
The TII spokesperson said: “The seizing of cars is the final act in a series of opportunities for people to rectify the situation, but when a judgement is made that is it.
"Enforcement is about fairness for the 97.3 per cent of the people who abide by the rules and there is a process for owners to reclaim cars after agreements on payments are reached.
"The M50 eflow barrier free tolling enforcement programme is overseen by Pierse Fitzgibbon (PF) Solicitors and emphasise the commitment to fairness on behalf of the 97.3 per cent of road users who pay their toll, making the compliance rate one of the best in the world.
“Unfortunately, there are a minority of cases that are not resolved during the process and end up before a judge. After a ruling a sub-set of those cases require the involvement of the sheriff."
The confirmation of the large rise in vehicle seizures from those dodging M50 tolls fees and the subsequent penalties last year comes as the former operator of the M50 toll, Emovis confirmed in accounts that its Irish revenues only decreased by 8 per cent, from €25.4 million to €23.37 million, in spite of Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020.
Total toll revenues on the M50 - which go to the State - reduced by 23 per cent, down from €158.4 million in 2019 to €121.6 million in 2020.
The Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) for the M50 eFlow toll in 2020 was 109,150 trips, a reduction of 28 per cent on 2019 levels. In 2020, there were 948 incidents on the M50, which included 363 traffic collisions.
The TII spokesman explained the bulk of the payments by TII to the operator of the M50 toll are made up of overhead and operational payments and only a smaller percentage relate to the number of cars that go through the toll.
Pre-tax profits at Emovis Operations Ireland Ltd increased by 13.5 per cent to €1.85 million in 2020 after its business received an €8.07 million revenue boost from a new business in Qatar.
On August 6th, 2021, Turas Mobility Services, a joint venture between VINCI Highways and Abtran took over the management of the €373 million M50 e-flow contract.