The M50 tolling system has been up an running since August 2008 . The system is operated by BetEire Flow – which is a French consortium. In 2010 they made a profit of €1.65 million .
There are 3 different options for drivers using the M50:
Option 1. Pay as You Go - : Your car registration number will be logged by cameras as you pass through the toll bridge/plaza. You will be liable for a €3.10 euro toll which you can either :
a) pay online with a credit or debit card at eflow.ie or
b) pay by credt/debit card over the telephone on 1890 50 10 50.
c) pay by cash or card at Payzone outlets (many newsagents and convenience shops)
You must pay before 8pm the day after you use the M50 otherwise penalty charges kick in.
This pay as you go option is really only viable for the people who maybe only use the M50 a couple of times a year. Apart from the hassle and time to make individual payments – the charge is much higher for this option. For example 240 trips a year over the toll plaza would cost you €744 euro if you do it this way. (assuming you remember to pay each time and don’t incur any penalties or fines). This compares with €518.52 for the same journeys if you go for the cheapest tag option.
Option 2: Register with eflow.ie for a number plate recognition account. You give them your vehicle details and either debit card or bank details. As you use the M50 your registration is logged and Eflow charge you automatically each month for all the trips you made. The toll is €2.60 for this option. No monthly admin fees or tags. It is more for the casual user and means you will not have to worry about penalties if you can’t get to a Payzone in time . You can register at Eflow.ie or over the phone on : 1890 50 10 50
Option 3 – Register for a Toll Tag Account
An electronic tag on the windscreen of your car is used to register your use of the M50 and the toll charges of just €2.10 euro a trip are deducted from your toll tag account. With a pre-pay tag account – it is topped up automatically from your credit card or bank account when your balance runs low. Eflow offer the only post-pay tag – which can be paid by Direct Debit or Laser Card.
This option has several choices – just to confuse consumers even more. There are several tag providers with slightly different prices.
For M50 users who pass the toll plaza more than 5 times a month the cheapest option is the tag account from Eflow.ie . Eflow.ie has another advantage – because only Eflow offer a post-pay tag option with no preloading or auto top up . You just pay for what you owe each month .(plus 1.23 euro admin a month). Pay by Direct Debit or Laser (No Credit Cards)
The slightly cheaper option – on paper- for drivers doing less than 6journeys a month is the “Pay as you Toll Plus “account from TollTag.ie. The tag is free and they do not charge a monthly fee – but instead charge 20.1c (10%) on each toll. If you are going to use the M50 more than 5 times a month the tolltag option gradually becomes more expensive than Eflow and the normal Tolltag.ie account.
Some figures and examples of annual toll costs
For 240 trips a year ( 20 trips a month = )
Cheapest : TollTag.ie and Easytrip.ie €518.52 (1.21 monthly fee)
Eflow €518.76 Euro Free Tag and €1.23 admin fee
Tolltag.ie €554.40 (Pay as you Toll Plus) Free tag+ 10% admin fee fee
Tolltag.ie €558 (Pay as you Toll 10% maintenence fee and a purchase fee.)
Eflow Video Recognition Account €624
Non Registration - €744
For a daily M50 user the cheapest tag option will save you €225.48 a year in toll charges compared to not registering for any type of account.
The cheapest Tag option will save you €40 compared to the most expensive one.
Costs for exactly 2 Trips a month (24 a year)
€55.44 for Tolltag.ie “Pay as you Toll Plus” account (€2.10 plus 10% per trip)
€62.40 For Eflow Video Recognition Account (2.50 a trip) (Post Pay)
€65.16 Euro for Free Tag and €1 a month fee plus €2 per trip ( Eflow.ie, )
So if you are going to be using the M50 toll more than twice a month it will be cheaper to get a Tag rather than a Video Registration account.
There are discussions about changing the M50 tolls to introduce more toll points but with lower charges. See Possible M50 Toll Changes here