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3-Wheelers and the new M6 Toll Road (UK).

What do 3-wheelers pay?

On December 8th 2003 the new M6 Toll road opened that offers 27 miles of new motorway that goes around Birmingham avoiding one of the most congested sections of motorway in Europe.  Seeing the Toll signs erected with the pricing structure I have e-mailed the M6 Toll folks three times asking what fees 3-wheelers will pay but they appear to have chosen not to reply to my e-mails.  After consulting the M6toll web site at it seems that most vehicles are placed into different classes - all except 3-wheelers.

Below is a section from the M6toll web site that helps define your class of vehicle

Based on this chart a 3-wheeler falls under Class 1 (Number of wheels - under 4) This means therefore that when you approach the toll booths you can pay the Motorcycle fee (Standard price £2.50 day, £1.50 night).  Should they argue that you vehicle is a Car, as a Reliant Robin is, you can state that a car comes under Class Two and is defined as having 4 wheels or more. In addition Class 2 is for vehicles with two axles - a 3-wheeler essentially only has one.

Things can change a little when you tow a trailer as trailers occur additional charges on the M6toll road. For a normal 4-wheeler towing a trailer this comes under Class 3. 4 or more wheels and more than 2 axles.  A 3-wheeler towing a trailer has 5 wheels so we are into Class 2, but it only has 2 axles so we are still in Class 2. Therefore according to this chart a 3-wheeler towing a trailer is classed as a normal 4-wheeler and should pay a Class 2 fee (Standard price £3.50 day, £2.50 night).

I can not guarantee what price you will be made to pay if you use the M6toll.

Update 1:  1st June 2004:

A couple of people have e-mailed me saying that they have been charged £2 (the 4-wheeler rate) when they used the M6 Toll. It seemed therefore that Reliants were being charged as normal cars. As a result I asked how many folks would like to jump into there 3-wheeler and go to every toll booth on the M6 Toll at the same time and refuse to go through unless they were charged motorcycle rate.  As the replies were coming back to me from people who wanted to join in (about 20 cars), a member of the group (Ray Whitehurst) e-mailed the M6 Toll folks and obviously he had more clout than me, as whilst the M6 Toll people chose to ignore my E-mails, they answered his.  Ray told me:

 ... Told them I intended writing an article on a forthcoming demonstration and asked if they would like
to comment before article was published. My telephone has been red hot ever since with phone calls from them! Last one at 8pm tonight from their press officer said that their rules are clear, all Reliants pay only £1 for using the toll road and all of their employees have been told this fact. So if they try charging you, tell them to see Nigel Pipkin their press officer!

Nigel Pipkin then sent this e-mail

Dear Sir/Madam,

We at The Warman Group are the newly appointed public relations consultancy for the M6 Toll, operated by Midland Express Ltd. I have been speaking to a Mr R Whitehurst about what he says is 'a forthcoming protest by Reliant Trycycle owners' with regard to tolls being charged for three-wheel vehicles.

I am told the price as stated clearly on the website is £1, the same as for motorcycles. However, Mr Whitehurst has told me that some people are being charged £2. On the face of it, this appears to be incorrect.

Could I seek your help in resolving this. Could one of those people who still retains a receipt for the incorrect amount please contact Jayne Dunn,phone 01543 267024.

Please excuse the formality of the 'Dear Sir/Madam' as I am obviously unaware of your christian name.

If you have any futher difficulties please drop me a line.

Kind regards

Nigel Pipkin


I am not sure if the e-mail is suggesting that people in Reliant’s have not been charged £2 (when I know that they have) or that it means that Reliants are not actually motorcycles / tricycles.  I am also confused that the e-mail states that those who have been charged £2 and have a receipt should contact the phone number given. I have used the toll a couple of times myself (in a 4-wheeler) and on neither occasion was I given a receipt.  I just threw the money into a large catching net and drove on.

Elvis Payne

June 1st 2004

Update 2: May 2006

On May 27th, I drove down the M6 Toll in my Reliant Regal Supervan III and gave the lady at the tool booth £2.50. She looked at me and said, “You are a pound short”.  I said, “No I am not, this is a Reliant” and before she could say anything I handed her a print out of the classification chart shown at the top of this page. She looked at it and then said, “OK” and opened the barrier to let me through. The day after on my return trip, exactly the same thing happend. Again I presented my facts and the chap let me through.

It seems therefore that the folks on the booths are not aware of what Reliants should be paying and so will try to get the whole amount out of you for a car. However, if you present them with the facts above, as I did, then they do appear to let you pass without needing to pay a full car price.  This has been my experience anyway.

You can take the same document I used by opening and printing the following word document.

M6toll.doc (125Kb)

You can either right click on the link above and choose “Save target as” to save the document to your PC or simply click on it to open it up in your browser so that it can be printed off.