A MOTORIST from Newport says it is a "joke" that the firm that runs the Severn Bridges has run out of devices that let frequent users through the tolls.

John Davies, 61, of Llanmartin, says he’s been told there are no replacements available for his faulty Severn Tag from Severn River Crossing PLC until next month.

The devices appear to be made by a limited number of suppliers. An email from the firm says that despite an order for their replacement dating back to June, they are yet to be delivered.

Mr Davies called the situation an “absolute joke”, saying the tag system was old and outdated by better ones used on the continent.

He said the tag, which he shared with his wife Phillipa Verity-Davies, only worked one in three times when going through the toll booths.

He said: “You drive up to one of the toll booths and your tag should be picked up by the scanner and its not.

“You could be waiting two or three minutes for someone to come to you. In that time two or three minutes of M4 traffic backs up behind you,” he said, adding some motorists can get abusive.

He said toll systems he’s used on the continent are “far better” than the ones on the Severn Bridge. “With those they use credit cards, but even they are very quick,” he said.

“We’re paying a fortune for a second rate system,” he said, adding he had heard complaints from others who had had problems with the devices.

Emails from Severn River Crossing seen by the Argus appear to show that the company is out of stock of TAGs.

“Severn TAGs are European standard devices made by a limited number of suppliers and despite placing an order for replacement stock on June 4 we have not yet had the delivery,” the email said.

“Delivery was due earlier this month but due to a delay on one of the components we are not now expecting delivery until early September. We have done all we can to mitigate the delay – including air freighting the component to the TAG factory in France,” it added.

Mr Davies was told he would be prioritised if any tags are returned.

The Severn River Crossing company takes a £30 deposit for the tags. Discounts are offered if people travel frequently.

Jessica Morden, Labour MP for Newport East, said: “This is another example of why we need this concession to end. Local motorists continue to carry the costs.”

The Argus approached Severn River Crossing PLC for comment but received no reply.