A COUPLE of years ago, I worked for a while in Trafford. My first office was in Sale and was literally just off the M60 and then we moved to Old Trafford, almost directly opposite Lancashire Cricket Club and just round the corner from Manchester United.

My first commute was straightforward, M60 then M62 and home to Warrington. When we moved to Old Trafford, it became a little more complex at times, especially if United were at home and I had to try to find a way to dodge the traffic.

One alternative was over the toll bridge at Warburton.

I was only an occasional user of the bridge and I fully realise its somewhat archaic 12p per crossing charge is a bone of contention for people who use it on a regular basis. Not only is the fee, levied by Peel Ports, a source of irritation in its own right but there are regular complaints about the traffic congestion caused by having to stop to hand over your money.

But one reader has raised an interesting point regarding the bridge tolls allied to the threat of coronavirus. The anonymous author wrote in a letter to the Guardian: “The hand hygiene issues are immense.

“I recognise that they [Peel Ports] have a business model that needs to be maintained during this health crisis, but they could come up with a solution to reduce contact.”

The letter-writer goes on to suggest that perhaps Peel could introduce weekly fixed-price tickets; a tray to drop exact change in to or have hand sanitiser available to use as the money is exchanged.

The author adds: “At present, as a commuter, I am unable to even obtain hand sanitiser to wash my hands after the exchange of money and as such I contaminate my car steering wheel and gear stick for a period of time while going to work.”

All this sounds perfectly reasonable to me for the sake of 12 pence a trip and I wonder just how much money Peel Ports actually makes from the toll.

To be fair to Peel there are plans to improve things at Warburton Bridge. On its website, Peel Ports says it is ‘seeking to address the concerns raised by the local community and recognise that the bridge is now in need of upgrading’.

It adds that in addition to undertaking necessary maintenance, and a number of other improvements, the company plans to install an automated tolling system to improve the flow of traffic. Sounds like that can’t come soon enough.

One the same topic of money changing hands during the coronavirus crisis, I got an email notification this week from a shop in Manchester that I have been known to use from time to time.

From now on, because of the health issues, all transactions will have to be done by card as it is declining to accept cash.

The reason was to protect the health of its staff and customers. I wonder how long it will be before that policy becomes widespread.

At the time of writing, my summer break looks in serious jeopardy. We were supposed to be jetting off for two weeks in the sun to Mallorca in June but on Sunday I got an email alert from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office saying: “The FCO advises against all travel to Spain due to restrictions put in place by the Spanish government in response to the outbreak of coronavirus.”

Of course, no one knows how the pandemic is going to play out but I’m pretty resigned to the fact we won’t be going away.

We are independent travellers and had booked our flights and accommodation separately so on Sunday, I went on to the Ryanair website to see what advice it had for me regarding my flights. Sadly there wasn’t any.

I wonder if the Ryanair web team doesn’t work over the weekend because I could still buy three nights in Alicante for £115 or three nights in Barcelona, travelling on May 1, for an absolute bargain £70.

I think someone needs to have a word with them.