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Final countdown to Dartford Crossing changes

The Dartford Crossing – one of the UK’s most recognisable transport landmarks – will change forever this weekend.

Dart Charge – a new way of paying the crossing charge – will speed up journeys by removing the need to stop at a barrier and give drivers more flexibility about how and when they pay the charge.

From 6am this Sunday (November 30) instead of paying cash at the Crossing drivers will pay online, by phone or post or at one of thousands of retail outlets nationwide. Payment can be made in advance or by midnight the day after crossing.

More than 120,000 Dart Charge accounts have already been set up, covering more than 170,000 vehicles. Each will save up to a third every time they use the Crossing when Dart Charge goes live this Sunday.

Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said: “This is a big week for the Dartford Crossing – today marks the last Monday before cash payments at the Crossing stop and work to take out the payment booths begins.

“Better journeys at Dartford really are on the way. I’m very encouraged by the take up we’ve seen for pre-pay accounts, which will be the easiest and cheapest way to use the Crossing. But plenty more could still benefit, and now’s the time to take action.”

Setting up a Dart Charge account is quick and simple, taking less than 7 minutes on average, and can be done from virtually any computer, tablet or smartphone. It can also be done by phone or post, says the Highways Agency.

Work to remove the booths and improve the road layout will begin on Friday, November 28 - the same weekend the new payment arrangements go live - and will continue until spring 2015.

For more detailed information about the works, including drawings of the planned road layouts, visit www.gov.uk/highways/dartford.

To pay for the Dart Charge call 0300 3000 120 or visit www.gov.uk/pay-dartford-crossing-charge and pay before midnight on the day of travel.

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  • Gerry - 25/11/2014 12:22

    I've been trying to set up a DD a/c by phone (on line not working?) for the last 3 weeks and spent hour(s) holding on to speak to someone, when I do and they promise this/that by E mail I am still waiting!!?? What (a male chicken in the air) !!!!!

  • Adrian Harrison - 25/11/2014 12:32

    How will foreign vehicles be charged in future when they use the Dartford Crossing. Will they again get away without paying as they do with parking and speeding fines?

  • Ross - 25/11/2014 13:21

    In answer to Adrian. Foreign vehicles will effectively be exempt. As a driver can pay the day after they use the crossing, then they can't be stopped at the crossing itself. The comments from the authority stating they will pursue drivers who don't pay back to their home country has no legal or technological backup. They simply won't be able to do this, and if they did recover the fine, the costs would outweigh the fine. However, I still think this is an improvement and will aid traffic flow. Of course I would have much preferred it was scrapped all together. The better solution for non uk vehicles, would have been a dedicated lane for them with a couple of booths and a numberplate recognition system that would pick up any who stayed in the UK vehicle lane, then they could have a few vehicles, pulling those foreign vehicles, and issue the fine there and then.

    • Wessex Boy - 29/11/2014 09:05

      @Ross - it is a relatively straight forward matter to enforce penalty charges across Europe, because it is such a common issue on the continent with lots of cross border traffic. There's a single agency set up to do just that.

  • Avril Gardner - 26/11/2014 19:27

    I think having to pay by midnight the day after crossing is a ridiculously short time scale. Not everyone has a computer or mobile phone to enable them to set up online or pay by mobile

    • christopher.smith - 26/11/2014 22:05

      @Avril Gardner - you can pay off any telephone by dialling the number, it doesn't have to be a mobile. You can also pay before passing.

  • Chris Snowball - 30/11/2014 11:42

    The Dartford Tunnel website for paying and setting up new accounts is not working so now I cant pay a lesser amount in advance. I don't even know if it will be back up and working before the 24 hours is up so does this mean I will also get a hefty fine...This is not good enough!

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