A consultation to be launched in December will propose scrapping night time charges and increasing day time charges for cash paying motorists. However, users would receive a significant discount on the cash rate if they opt to pay using a 'Dart Tag'.
The cost for a car driver paying in cash is currently £1. This will increase to £1.50. The Government has to consult interested parties on the proposal and the changes are expected to be introduced in January 2008.
Stephen Ladyman said: 'The crossing struggles to cope with the volume of traffic for much of the time, leading to long queues. As traffic increases the queues will get worse, so we need to act.
'We therefore intend to increase day charges for occasional users to £1.50 for cars. But I recognise this would be a significant burden for those who depend on the crossing for their livelihood, as well as for local people. We will therefore offer drivers who choose to use a Dart Tag a significantly discounted rate of £1.00 (currently 93 pence), which is the current cash charge.
'We will also remove the night time charge when traffic is much lighter. This is in line with our desire to see more freight moving at night when the roads are less congested.'
Dart Tag is a small electronic device that is attached to the windscreen and registers when users have incurred the charge. Road users put credit on the cards before making their journeys, avoiding a cash transaction at the toll booth. Dart Tags are available from Le Crossing, which operates the Dartford Thurrock river crossings on behalf of the Highways Agency. There is no cost to the motorist to obtain a Dart Tag.
Further details can be found at www.dartfordrivercrossing.co.uk/dart-tag/.