REGISTRATION for tolling on the new Mersey Gateway and Silver Jubilee bridges has opened today, Monday.

Merseyflow and Halton Borough are urging people to register online as quickly as possible to avoid getting caught in a last minute rush when the new crossing opens in the autumn.

Registering with Merseyflow is the only way to get discounts or free tolls if you live in Halton and qualify.

Former Chancellor George Osborne made a pledge that motorists in Warrington and Cheshire West and Chester would have tolls waived ahead of the 2015 General Election.

But many Warrington motorists are facing a £1,080 yearly bill to cross the site when it opens to traffic later this year following a Government U-turn in January.

However, the Government is still being urged to scrap tolls for Warrington motorists.

The standard toll charge to cross either bridge will be £2 for a one-way trip in a car or a small van, with a discount pass for Warrington drivers set to be priced at £90 per month, amounting to £1,080 a year.

A peak pass will cost £90 per month, with an off peak pass priced at £60.

From July 17, people will be able to register for a pre-pay account, monthly pass or blue badge holder pass, all of which give discounts on the full unregistered toll fee.

The free-flow tolling system, which uses vehicle recognition, is being tipped to make journeys across the river 'quicker, easier and more reliable because drivers won't need to stop or use a toll booth bucket'.

There are a number of ways to register, with the website being the quickest option.

If you would prefer to register in person, you can visit the Merseyflow walk-in centre and you can also call 01928 878878 and register by phone.

The address of the walk-in centre is:

9 Howard Court, Manor Park, Runcorn, WA7 1SJ

Merseyflow will also be running a registration service at the Halton Direct Link, on Brook Street in Widnes, which will begin on July 24 and run until the end of August.

Registering is the only way to get discounts on journeys across the Mersey, or if you qualify, free travel across the bridges.

Anyone who is eligible for the Halton residents’ discount scheme must register and pay their £10 annual fee in order to claim their free trips.

Anyone, wherever they live, can also register for a pre-pay account, or monthly pass which both give discounts on the full unregistered toll fee.

It will still be possible to cross the bridge without registering but, if you do, you will have to pay the full unregistered toll fee, which is £2 per car per crossing, with additional charges for larger vehicles.

Blue badge holders will also be able to register for unlimited travel on the bridges after providing copies of the front and back of their blue badge and paying a one-off £5 admin fee.

Once registered, motorists will receive a Merseyflow sticker to place in the windscreen of their registered vehicle.

This sticker means your vehicle will be recognised when you travel across the new bridge and will ensure you do not receive a penalty charge notice as long as you have funds in your account.

A guide outlining exactly where to place the sticker on your windscreen is also available.

Anthony Alicastro, chief executive Officer of Emovis Operations (Mersey) Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emovis, which runs the Merseyflow operation, said demand to register is expected to be high.

He added: “As we approach the opening of the bridge, we would encourage people to register as soon as they can to avoid delays.

“We’re making sure there are plenty of options available so that everyone who wants to register can do so as easily as possible.

“While registering online will be the quickest option, we have call centre staff ready to answer your phone calls, while the team at our walk-in centre will be able to get you registered in person.

“Registering now will ensure you are ready when the bridge opens this autumn.

“If you have questions about the tolls and registration take a look at the website, or reach out to us on social media, and our staff will work hard to answer your question as quickly as possible.”

David Parr, chief executive of Halton Borough Council, added: “This is an important step in our journey towards the opening of the Mersey Gateway.

“Once registered you will be able to travel across the new bridge as soon as it opens, and the Silver Jubilee Bridge, when work to refurbish it is completed.

“The Mersey Gateway Bridge will provide drivers with quicker, easier and more reliable journeys, while the improved road network will mean travel across Halton is easier and less congested.

“To provide everyone with plenty of time to sign up, registration is starting well ahead of the bridge opening.

“There will be an inevitable last-minute rush to sign up, so save yourself delays and register as soon as you can, so you don’t have to worry about doing it later this year.”

Merseyflow has produced a range of leaflets to help explain the registration process to people that live in Halton, as well as to residents living outside of the area.

A guide has also been developed to explain clearly how the Merseyflow sticker should be displayed in your vehicle.

Anyone who is not registered will have to pay their fee by midnight the day after they cross the bridge, or will be issued with a penalty notice of up to £60.

So, for example, if a motorist crossed the bridge on a Monday morning, they would have until 11.59pm on Tuesday to pay the toll fee.

The new bridge is scheduled to open in autumn 2017.

When the new bridge opens the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be closed to road traffic for up to 12 months while it is refurbished.

During this time the Silver Jubilee Bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.