Mersey Tunnel Users Association today rapped drivers for taking a back seat in their campaign to secure toll free cross river travel.

Less than two dozen people turned out yesterday to support MTUA’s demonstration against the 10p rise in tunnel charges introduced this month – although they included high level support from Government Minister Esther McVey, the MP for Wirral West.

Association secretary John McGoldrick said: “On the bright side we got the usual support from drivers going through the tunnels – most of them honked their horns of waved to those on the bridge crossing the tunnel approach at Seacombe.

“But it is clear that while most people oppose the tolls very few are prepared to take an active part in trying to get the tolls removed.

“This lack of action sends a message to Merseytravel and the local politicians that they can get away with further toll increase.”

Recent tunnel accounts showed that Mersey Tunnel tolls will next year generate almost £10m profits – a rise from £7.7m to £9.7m.

They also revealed that income from the tolls would break through the £40m mark – rising from £38,995,000 to £41,390,000.

The MTUA have persistently opposed increased in tunnel tolls – they went up from £1.60 to £1,70 on Sunday – claiming they effectively divided families and friends.

On Wednesday Wirral Council’s regeneration and environment policy and performance committee will study a motion from Cllr Les Rowland calling for action to reduce the burden of the tolls.

Councillor Rowland accused Merseytravel of using the tunnels as a “cash cow” and called the tolls “a tax on Merseyside.”