Fleet News

Highways Agency reminds drivers of Dartford Crossing changes

If you are travelling on business and using the Dartford Crossing, then you need to know that from October, the way you pay the crossing charge is changing, says the Highway Agency.

It’s all part of a major road improvement programme to reduce congestion, at the Dartford Crossing, which crosses the River Thames and links Essex and Kent.

A new payment system called Dart Charge is being introduced, which Fleet News reported on recently.

This means that drivers will no longer stop to pay at the barriers, but instead they will be able to pay in advance or by midnight the day after their journey.

A Dart Charge account offers a discount of up to a third and means drivers don’t need to remember to pay, as it can be automatically topped up. Payment can also be made over the phone, online, at selected retail outlets, or by post.

Highways Agency project manager Nigel Gray said: “These changes will improve traffic flow, reduce journey times, and bring about significant benefits to motorists, both locally and from much further afield.

“It’s one of the country’s most congested parts of the road network, and we’re serious about tackling the problem.”

As motorists make a crossing, number plate reading cameras, lasers and DART tag readers will identify their vehicle to see how much they need to pay.

The system then takes the money from their account or waits to receive payment from them.

If they do not pay in time, they will receive a penalty charge notice. This will apply to both UK and foreign vehicles.

It will still be free to use the Dartford Crossing between 10pm and 6am, and discounts for local residents will remain.

Once the new charging arrangements are in place from October, then the major construction works will begin, to replace the current 27 lanes and payment booths with a much simpler road layout with four lanes in each direction. New signs will also be installed.

On the southbound route over the QEII Bridge, the improvements will happen quickly.

It will take a little longer on the northbound route as a new safety system that stops over height vehicles from entering the tunnels is needed.

All road works are due to be completed in spring 2015 and are being planned to minimise disruption for road users. These are significant road works, said the Highways Agency, and motorists should expect some impact on their journey as a result.

The changes at the Dartford Crossing are part of the Government’s commitment to invest in infrastructure projects to boost economic growth. Around £1.7 billion is being spent on roads across the South East by 2021.
 


Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment

Comments

  • Alan Gould - 08/08/2014 11:56

    I would be interested to know how they propose to collect the toll or if issued the fixed penalty charge from foreign registered vehicles/drivers.

    • Dean - 10/12/2014 17:57

      @Alan Gould - this was raised when the gov., wanted to use NPR to levy tolls on the planned A14 upgrade (that idea has since been dropped). The indication from the Highways Agency, was that they can ask the DVLA in the country where the vehicle is registered for the registered owners details and send them the penalty fine. In the same way that a European country can ask our DVLA for your details if you did something similar abroad. One presumes that if the driver of a foreign registered vehicle, doesn't pay the toll or the penalty fine, then one can hope that the next time they venture on to UK soil, they will be pulled to one side at the port and asked to pay, whilst their vehicle is impounded.

  • Alison - 10/08/2014 10:20

    This has been well overdue & in reality another bridge would also help for commercial vehicles only! EVERY journey I have ever made from far North to South east Coast this is by far the nemesis of our UK road network.

    • james - 19/09/2014 13:07

      @Alison - It won't be

  • Joanna - 11/08/2014 11:32

    How would the toll be charged and paid when in a rental van? Would the driver pay the rental company when it is charged to them?

    • Dean - 10/12/2014 17:42

      @Joanna - the driver is responsible for paying the toll before crossing or by midnight the day after making the crossing - online; phone or payzone shops. If the toll is not paid, then the registered owner of the vehicle gets sent a penalty fine. That is the rule for everyone. So for vehicle rentals, the driver of the rented vehicle will need to pay the toll. If not the rental company will end up getting the penalty fine. I suspect that like with speeding/parking fines etc., the rental company will pass the contact details of the the person that hired the vehicle to the debt collectors and they will go a chasing the person that hired the vehicle.

  • elise - 10/11/2014 17:43

    i live in france and don't know how to pay if i use this bridge, there is no information, this is so hard for people who don't live near to have knowledge, how will all the foreigners going to be told?

    • Dean - 10/12/2014 17:47

      @elise - you pay the toll before crossing or by midnight the day after making the crossing - online; phone or payzone shops. If the toll is not paid, then the registered owner of the vehicle gets sent a penalty fine. A google search, will help you find out how to pay etc.. I don't live local and have found out the above information from the internet.

  • Maurice M Ward - 12/11/2014 16:19

    We live in France and drive on French plates as required by French law, this change looks like it will cost more than it's worth and I will need to find an alternative route to the midlands. How do I pay if I need to?

    • Dean - 10/12/2014 17:46

      @Maurice M Ward - you pay the toll before crossing or by midnight the day after making the crossing - online; phone or payzone shops. If the toll is not paid, then the registered owner of the vehicle gets sent a penalty fine. A google search, will help you find out how to pay etc.. However, if you do not want to pay the toll at all, then when you get to the end of the M2 in Kent, rather than turning right onto the M25, turn left and go clockwise around London, bit longer, but no toll to pay.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee