The new payment arrangements – known as 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 last cash payment will be taken at the Crossing around 10pm on Saturday 29 November.
From 6am on Sunday 30 November drivers will have more flexibility about when and how they pay the charge, paying 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.
A website where drivers can register for a pre-pay account – and save up to a third on every crossing from 30 November – opened to the public today.
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.”
From this morning the website where drivers can set up their pre-pay account – www.gov.uk/dart-charge – has been open to the public. 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, added: “The payment booths cause significant congestion at the Dartford Crossing so we welcome the introduction of Dart Charge. The quicker journey times means 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 charge to use the Crossing will also increase from Sunday 30 November, as announced by the Department for Transport in May 2012, as follows:
| ||Current||From Sunday 30 November|
|Cash||Dart Tag||Pay as you go||Pre-Paid Accounts|
|2 Axle Goods||£2.50||£2.19||£3.00||£2.63|
|Multi Axle Goods||£5.00||£4.33||£6.00||£5.19|
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. All roadworks are being planned to minimise disruption.