THE number of fines issued to motorists using the Mersey Gateway has fallen.

Figures out today show an 18.5% (38,096) drop in the number of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued between July – September, compared to the same period last year.

They also show the highest ever payment on time rate and record traffic levels using the Mersey Gateway Bridge between Runcorn and Widnes.

This comes at a time when traffic levels using the bridge are at their highest ever recorded, with 6.25 million journeys being made across the River Mersey in Halton.

Neil Conway, chief executive of Merseyflow, said: "This has been our best ever quarter.

"I am delighted to see the significant reduction in PCNs and an all-time high in journeys paid for on time, particularly when the quarter recorded the highest number of crossings made across the bridge.

He added: "These statistics show that we are achieving our key objectives, improving the pay on time rates for the users of the bridge, and as a consequence of that reducing the number of Penalty Charge Notices issued.

"The work we do to encourage people to register with us and pay on time is working, and we will continue to look at new ways to make it quicker and easier for users of the bridge to either register with us, or to pay their charge on time, as we want to see the trend of reducing PCN numbers and increasing traffic levels continue."

Mike Bennett, managing director of the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, said: "It's great to see more people using the Mersey Gateway Bridge and less people getting PCNs.

"We would much rather everyone paid on time or registered with Merseyflow.

"In an ideal world, we don’t want to issue any PCNs, so it is very positive to see this 18.5% year-on-year reduction."

He added: "We're now two years on from the bridge opening, so the ongoing increase in traffic levels shows people are benefitting from quicker, easier and more reliable journeys across the river.

"We know how important this reliability and access is to residents, commuters and the business community, so our focus is on maintaining that and improving the service wherever we can."