New Dart Charge reaches one million drivers

One million vehicles are now registered to Dart Charge accounts with journey times significantly quicker according to new data released today by the Highways Agency.

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Nearly 8000 drivers a day evading new Dartford scheme

Up to 8,000 drivers a day are failing to pay the Dartford Crossing tolls since the barriers were done away with a month ago.

A new electronic scheme is now in operation with 85% paying the £2.50 charge for cars. It is similar to Congestion Charging in London.

The first penalty notices have just been sent out but initially offenders will have two weeks to pay the charge before they are fined.

The HA say the scheme is all about cutting congestion and is working well. Credit: Dartford Crossing

Meanwhile the Highways Agency say there have been big savings in journey times with many trips on average speeded up by nine minutes.

There is still work needed to remove barriers and it is expected to be complete in the Spring.

Our transport correspondent Mike Pearse speaks to Nigel Gray from the Highways Agency.

85% crossings paid for in new Dart Charge

One million vehicles are now registered to Dart Charge accounts with journey times significantly quicker, according to the Highways Agency.

Dart Charge, which is designed to speed up journey times at one of the UK’s busiest transport gateways, now allows drivers to use the crossing without having 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.

Time-lapse cameras captured the moment that barriers were removed. Credit: Dartford

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.

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."

– Nigel Gray, Dart Charge project director


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