Almost 100 vehicles were seized by the Dublin Sheriff for the first 10 months of the last year from motorists who had not paid their M50 tolls.

Vehicles seized included a Lexus, a Land Rover Range Rover, a Mercedes Benz CLS and an Audi A5.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland said 94 vehicles were seized in total, which compares to 30 vehicles for the same period in 2020 - an increase of 213%.

A spokesman for TII said that the outstanding M50 bills ranged from €5,000 to €15,000.

Those bills have to be paid off before motorists can reclaim their cars from the sheriff.

"The seizing of cars is the final act in a series of opportunities for people to rectify the situation, but when a judgement is made that is it," said the TII spokesperson.

"Enforcement is about fairness for the 97.3% of the people who abide by the rules and there is a process for owners to reclaim cars after agreements on payments are reached."

The M50 eflow barrier free tolling enforcement programme is overseen by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors. The 97.3% compliance rate is one of the best in the world.

"Unfortunately, there are a minority of cases that are not resolved during the process and end up before a judge. After a ruling a sub-set of those cases require the involvement of the sheriff."

The confirmation of the large rise in vehicle seizures from those dodging M50 tolls and subsequent penalties last year comes as the former operator of the M50 toll, Emovis confirmed in accounts that its Irish revenues only decreased by 8% from €25.4m to €23.37m in spite of Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020.

Total toll revenues on the M50 - which go to the State - reduced by 23% from €158.4m in 2019 to €121.6m in 2020.

The Annual Average Daily Traffic for the M50 eFlow toll in 2020 was 109,150 trips, a reduction of 28% on 2019 levels.

In 2020, there were 948 incidents on the M50 that included 363 traffic collisions.

The TII spokesman explained that the bulk of the payments by TII to the operator of the M50 toll are made of overhead and operational payments and only a smaller percentage relates to the number of cars that go through the toll.

Pre-tax profits at Emovis Operations Ireland Ltd increased by 13.5% to €1.85m in 2020 after its business received an €8.07 million revenue boost from a new business in Qatar.

On August 6 last, Turas Mobility Services, a joint venture between VINCI Highways and Abtran took over the management of the €373m M50 e-flow contract.