The Highways Agency has revealed that more than 1,000 fleets have successfully migrated to the new Dartford Crossing payment system – Dart Charge – and more than 100,000 vehicles have been registered for a Dart Charge account.
Since account registrations went live on November 5, up to 2,200 people every hour have visited the Dart Charge website to sign up for a pre-pay account, saving up to a third on each crossing.
The Highways Agency says that setting up an account takes less than seven minutes on average, and around 30 % of accounts have been set up using a smartphone or tablet.
To help ease congestion at the Dartford Crossing, from November 30 drivers will no longer stop at a barrier to pay the crossing charge. Instead, they will pay Dart Charge online, by phone or post or at one of thousands of retailers nationwide.
The scheme was originally due to begin in October, but was delayed due to the technology having to undergo further tests.
Highways Agency project director Nigel Gray said: “For most people using the Dartford Crossing, a prepay account will be the cheapest and most convenient way to pay the crossing charge.
“I'm really encouraged by the take up so far, but urge all drivers who use the Crossing to sign up for an account and benefit from the discount it offers.”
Fleet operators and haulage firms have been among the first to sign up, with 1,157 business fleets have already been migrated to Dart Charge, and the Dart Charge team are working with the 100 largest fleet operators - between them covering more than 20,000 vehicles - to help them prepare for the changes.
Foreign drivers have been setting up accounts too, with 3% of overall accounts - around the same proportion of foreign vehicles that that use the crossing each day. Registrations from 52 different countries have been received so far.
All existing DART-Tag customers should now have been contacted with details of how to migrate their account. Any who have not yet been contacted should now call the Dart Charge team.
Work to remove the payment booths and introduce a new road layout will begin on November 28, and will be completed in spring 2015. Road works are being planned to minimise disruption.