Dartford; Free Flow Charging Date Set
5 November 2014, 18:53
Drivers who use the Dartford Crossing will soon no longer need to dig around in their glove boxes for loose change.
The Highways Agency has confirmed that a change in the way payments are made will come into effect on Sunday November 30, but at the same time there will be an increase in the cost to use the crossing.
Dart Charge will help reduce congestion and ease traffic flow at the crossing as drivers will no longer stop to pay at the barriers, the Highways Agency said.
The last cash payment will be taken at the crossing at around 10pm on Saturday November 29.
From 6am on Sunday November 30 drivers will be able to pay either in advance or by midnight the day after crossing. Payment can be made online, by phone, by post or at one of thousands of payzone retail outlets.
Drivers can now register for a pre-pay account at www.gov.uk/dart-charge to save up to a third on every crossing from November 30.
Highways Agency project manager Nigel Gray said: "Dart Charge will help speed up journeys so it's great news for the tens of thousands of drivers who use the crossing every day and for the economy.''
The Highways Agency will be contacting existing Dart-Tag customers to explain how to transfer to a new Dart Charge account and continue to get discounts on crossings.
Malcolm Bingham, head of road network management policy at the Freight Transport Association, said: "The payment booths cause significant congestion at the Dartford Crossing so we welcome the introduction of Dart Charge.
"The quicker journey times mean reduced costs so this is good news for the freight industry.
£We will be encouraging all our members to sign up for pre-pay accounts so they can benefit from discounts on every crossing made.''
The current prices are as follows:
:: Motorbikes: free
:: Cars: £2 for cash and £1.33 for Dart Tag
:: 2 Axle Goods: £2.50 for cash and #2.19 for Dart Tag
:: Multi Axle Goods: £5.00 for cash and #4.33 for Dart Tag
The prices from Sunday November 30 will be:
:: Motorbikes: free
:: Cars: £2.50 for pay as you go and #1.67 for pre-paid accounts
:: 2 Axle Goods: £3 for pay as you go and #2.63 for pre-paid accounts
:: Multi Axle Goods: £6 for pay as you go and #5.19 for pre-paid accounts
The crossing will remain free between 10pm and 6am and the Local Residents' Discount Scheme remains in place.
Work to remove the payment booths and introduce a new road layout will begin at the end of November to coincide with Dart Charge launching and will be substantially completed by the end of April 2015, which is when drivers will feel the full benefits of the improvements, the Highways Agency said.
All roadworks are being planned to minimise disruption.