Dart Charge: drivers encouraged to pay as vehicles registered reaches one million
PUBLISHED: 11:02 30 December 2014 | UPDATED: 14:27 30 December 2014
Open Government Licence
Registering for an account makes crossing cheaper
One million vehicles are now registered to Dart Charge accounts with Dartford Crossing journey times significantly quicker according to new data released today by the Highways Agency.
Dart Charge is the new Dartford Crossing payment scheme, and it is designed to speed up journey times at one of the UK’s busiest transport gateways, by using remote payment and free-flow traffic system, rather than drivers having to stop to pay the charge at a barrier.
Early data suggests drivers are already experiencing significant improvements, with average journey times between 7am and 7pm cut by more than 9 minutes southbound, and more than 4 minutes northbound when comparing the first two weeks of December and the end of November.
Whether registered with a Dart Charge account or paying for individual crossings the vast majority of drivers are also complying with the new system. Since Dart Charge launched on November 30, around two million crossings have been made during the 6am-10pm chargeable period, and early indications show that to date around 85% of crossings have been paid for.
Processing of the first penalty charge notices that will be issued to drivers who have used the crossing but have not yet paid the crossing charge has now started. To give these drivers a further opportunity to pay the charge, the first penalty charge notice issued for each vehicle will include a warning letter giving the driver an extra 14 days in which to pay their original crossing charge without a penalty. In addition, any further crossings made in that vehicle can also be paid at the standard rate as long as payment is received within the same 14 day period.
Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said: “Dart Charge is off to a fantastic start, and I’m really encouraged that more than a million vehicles have been registered for accounts. Traffic flow is going well too – there has been a real improvement in journeys – especially southbound where drivers no longer have to stop at a barrier at all.
“The introduction of Dart Charge has been a big change so it is great that the vast majority of drivers have paid the charge. We want to give all drivers the opportunity to pay and comply with the scheme. That’s why the first penalty charge notice issued for any vehicle for non-payment of the charge will offer the driver an extra 14 days to pay - and pay for any crossings they have made since.
“This measured approach strikes the right balance between being clear to drivers they need to pay Dart Charge and giving them every opportunity to do so.”