Mersey Gateway - Motor Caravan Class 2 Classification

D Chamberlain made this Freedom of Information request to Halton Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Halton Borough Council,

On the 18th April 2018 the Council approved a new Road User Charging Scheme Order (RUCSO) for the Mersey Gateway Bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge which included: -

"Classification of Motor Homes

Motor Home Vehicles will be designated as Class 2, the same classification as applies to private cars."

Unfortunately this doesn't appear to be working as on the 4th May 2018 I was charged as a Class 3 vehicle for crossing the Mersey Gateway in my Motor Caravan. After numerous emails to Merseyflow the Complaints Manager finally agreed on the 24th June that my vehicle is a Motor Caravan and should have been charged at Class 2 rate.

Would you tell me:

What process do you have to ensure that Motor Caravans are classified as Class 2 on the toll system. (Mine is still identified as Class 3 in the online payments system)?

Do you have a system in place to manually update the vehicle records in your database to identify that a vehicle is a Motor Caravan after a successful complaint for reclassification?

Do you have or a system to have the vehicle records updated manually prior to using the crossing if Motor Caravan users submit a copy of their V5C?
If not do you plan to introduce one and when?

From an answer given by Halton Borough Council's Chief Executive's office to an FOI request in 2017 it was acknowledged that Halton Borough Council is the data controller, therefore would you tell me what information was supplied to you to populate the Vehicle details on the Pay for crossing page on the Merseyflow website.
In particular were the following details supplied:
Body Type
Vehicle Category

Yours faithfully,

David Chamberlain

Halton Borough Council

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Jim Yates, Halton Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Chamberlain

 

Further to your e mail below I have provided information below from the
Mersey Gateway Board.

 

1 The classification of a vehicle is made based on information supplied by
the DVLA and is refreshed with the DVLA on a monthly basis. This
information, where available can include; Vehicle Type, Vehicle Revenue
Weight, Seating Capacity, Body Type, Tax Class, Make, Model, Wheel Plan
and Colour. This can be processed both automatically or manually.

 

2 The database used for the identification of vehicles is supplied by the
DVLA and cannot be amended by Merseyflow.

 

3 The records used are supplied by the DVLA, if anything needs correcting
then these corrections must be made by the registered keeper of the
vehicle with the DVLA.

 

4 The information that was provided by the DVLA in your specific instance
cannot be supplied as your vehicle details have not been provided as part
of this request. However, the classification of a vehicle is based on
information supplied by the DVLA and is refreshed with the DVLA on a
monthly basis.

 

Regards

 

Jim Yates

Chief Executive’s Office

Municipal Building

Kingsway

Widnes

WA8 7QF

 

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Request Id : 6709

Customer Details
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Forename : David
Surname : Chamberlain
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Email : [FOI #494449 email]

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Details of Information Request

Request Topic(s) :
Requestor Category : Public
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Information Requested : Dear Halton Borough Council,

On the 18th April 2018 the Council approved a new Road User Charging
Scheme Order (RUCSO) for the Mersey Gateway Bridge and the Silver Jubilee
Bridge which included: -

"Classification of Motor Homes

Motor Home Vehicles will be designated as Class 2, the same classification
as applies to private cars."

Unfortunately this doesn't appear to be working as on the 4th May 2018 I
was charged as a Class 3 vehicle for crossing the Mersey Gateway in my
Motor Caravan. After numerous emails to Merseyflow the Complaints Manager
finally agreed on the 24th June that my vehicle is a Motor Caravan and
should have been charged at Class 2 rate.

Would you tell me:

What process do you have to ensure that Motor Caravans are classified as
Class 2 on the toll system. (Mine is still identified as Class 3 in the
online payments system)?

Do you have a system in place to manually update the vehicle records in
your database to identify that a vehicle is a Motor Caravan after a
successful complaint for reclassification?

Do you have or a system to have the vehicle records updated manually prior
to using the crossing if Motor Caravan users submit a copy of their V5C?
If not do you plan to introduce one and when?

From an answer given by Halton Borough Council's Chief Executive's office
to an FOI request in 2017 it was acknowledged that Halton Borough Council
is the data controller, therefore would you tell me what information was
supplied to you to populate the Vehicle details on the Pay for crossing
page on the Merseyflow website.
In particular were the following details supplied:
Body Type
Vehicle Category

Yours faithfully,

David Chamberlain

 

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Dear Jim Yates,
Thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately the system described to you by the Mersey Gateway Board doesn't appear to be working.

1 My vehicle's V5C, which was supplied by the DVLA in February 2012, clearly shows that the Body Type is Motor Caravan. This obviously hasn't been transferred to your database. Unfortunately I'm not able to attach the V5C to this request but it was supplied to Merseyflow in May of this year. Regrettably the Vehicle Category isn't collected according to your answer, surely this is an important piece of data.

2. If Merseyflow cannot amend the database perhaps you could tell me why the following was stated in answer to a question in the December 2017 edition of the Camping and Caravanning Club Magazine:"Following lobbying by the Club and several Club members, Merseyflow (the operator of the Mersey Gateway Bridge, www.merseyflow.co.uk) has agreed that motorhomes classed as N1 or M1 on their V5C documents will be charged for that class. Merseyflow says:'Road users who have vehicles that fall into either of these categories are encouraged to send copies of their V5Cs to us so we are able to verify this and we will amend the classification of their vehicle on our system'"

3 No correction should be needed on the record for my vehicle as the V5C is correct, it is the database that needs correcting. Any corrections that needed carrying out should have been done when I sent my V5C into Merseyflow in May 2018.

4 I have no intention of putting my vehicle's full details on a publicly accessible site. I have, however, supplied the information over numerous weeks via emails to Merseyflow who have been mostly unable to understand the rules regarding Motor Caravans and have failed to "amend the classification of my vehicle on their system". I have requested that the issue regarding the wrong classification of my vehicle on your database to be escalated outside the Merseyflow customer contact system but that has been met with silence.
Who within either Halton Borough Council or the Mersey Gateway Board (but definitely NOT Merseyflow) can I contact to verify the classification of my vehicle and also to escalate complaints about the Merseyflow customer service experience?

Yours sincerely,

D Chamberlain

Jim Yates, Halton Borough Council

I am out of the office until 3rd Aug. For anything urgent please contact
Susan Blakemore  0151 511 7123 

 

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Dear Halton Borough Council,
I am still awaiting a response to my letter to you on 19th July. A reply would be appreciated.

Yours faithfully,

D Chamberlain

Jim Yates, Halton Borough Council

Dear Mr Chamberlain

Apologies for the delay in reply to you following up questions. The Mersey Gateway Board (MGCB) has considered these and I have set out their response below

1 A principle point of reference on the V5C form is the Vehicle Category, your V5C shows N1 (Goods Vehicle) and not L1 (Motorhome)

2 The database referred to in this answer is the DVLA database, which Merseyflow cannot alter. If the owner of a vehicle believes that the DVLA database is inaccurate in respect of their vehicle then the owner may request that the database is amended, Merseyflow cannot make such requests.

3 The V5C shows the vehicle as N1 rather than L1 and hence needed correcting.

4 MGCB believe that the information that has been given to you is correct.

MGCB advise that despite the fact that the gross weight of the vehicle is over 3,500kg and it is classified as N1 (Goods) rather than L1(Motorhome) and they we were right to charge class 3 toll they have subsequently agreed it is a motorhome and hence class 2 toll was applied.

Regards

Jim Yates
Chief Executive’s Office
Municipal Building
Kingsway
Widnes
WA8 7QF

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