MORE than £12,000 was taken by Merseytravel from Mersey Tunnel drivers without the correct change over the past financial year.
As automatic toll booths do not give back any coins to those unable to pay the exact fee, many motorists are forced to pay more than is due.
Revealing the overspend, the transport authority is now set to plough the excess cash back into local charities.
But anti-toll campaigners have called the move a “robbery” of tunnel users.
The five Merseyside authorities, whose taxpayer levies help to fund Merseytravel, will each benefit by £2,000.
Cheques will be presented to the councils’ mayors for their chosen charities, with the remaining money donated to Clatterbridge, Your Cancer Centre, Merseytravel’s own corporate charity.
In a report, chief executive Neil Scales said: “One of the methods for payment for driving through the Mersey Tunnel is to put coins in a basket, which is able to calculate whether or not the monies due has been received.
“This is intended for drivers with the correct change, so they do not have to attend a manned booth.
“However, many drivers choose to submit cash into the baskets and forego the change. For the financial year 2010-11, this overpayment has amounted to just over £12,000.”