Traffic levels on the M6 Toll have slipped back again, according to the latest monthly figures from operators Midland Expressway Ltd.
The 27-mile toll motorway, the UK's first, reported average daily traffic in January of 43,344 vehicles, a five per cent drop on December's daily average of 45,548.
After a year of issuing month-to-month comparisons, MEL yesterday released its first set of year-on-year figures. Using that method, traffic on the controversial road showed an increase of 25.5 per cent on January 2004 - its first full month of operation, when it attracted an average daily figure of 32, 763 vehicles.
Tom Fanning, MEL managing director, said: "We are delighted at how well the M6 Toll is doing.
"For the first time we can compare like periods and there has been a 25 per cent increase in traffic in January 2005 compared with January 2004."
However, campaigners against the road said the statistics represented the sixth consecutive monthly decline in vehicles using the route each day and called for charges to be scrapped.
Chris Crean, from West Midlands Friends of the Earth, said: "They have had the benefit of months of roadworks on the M6 as well as dropping the tolls for lorries yet they are nowhere near the 75,000 vehicles a day they promised at the public inquiry."
A spokesman for the National Alliance Against Tolls said 24 per cent fewer vehicles had used the road in January compared with July last year and that, where possible, motorists were avoiding the route. The M6 Toll links junction 4 of the existing M6 at Coleshill, Warwickshire, with junction 11 near Cannock.