Press release

Better journeys begin at Dartford Crossing

The road to better journeys at the Dartford Crossing – one of the UK’s busiest transport gateways – began this weekend with the launch of Dart Charge.

Better journeys begin at Dartford Crossing

Dart Charge is a new way to pay the Dartford Crossing road user charge, removing the need for drivers to stop at a barrier. Instead, drivers now pay online, by phone or post or at one of thousands of retail outlets nationwide. Payment can be made in advance or by midnight the day after crossing.

An intensive weekend of roadworks saw the final cash payment at the crossing and the beginning of work to remove the payment booths. Dart Charge launched at 6am on Sunday as planned.

Highways Agency project director Nigel Gray said:

Dart Charge will change journeys at the Dartford Crossing for the better. It will speed up journeys and ease congestion, generating big returns for the economy. It gives drivers more flexibility about how and when they pay the Crossing Charge. And it is helping more people than ever save up to a third on every crossing by setting up a pre-pay account with us – as more than 200,000 people already have.

We’re off to a good start, but this weekend’s launch of Dart Charge is just the beginning of a series of changes at the Crossing. Already this morning, the southbound carriageway has been cleared of the payment booths, but work on the northbound carriageway will take longer because of the safety considerations of the tunnels. I’d encourage drivers to plan ahead when they’re using the crossing so they’re up to date with any restrictions, and to drive with extra care through the roadworks.

Paying the charge or setting up a Dart Charge account is quick and simple, taking less than 7 minutes on average, and can be done from virtually any computer, tablet or smartphone. It can also be done by phone or post.

Work to remove the booths and improve the road layout will continue until spring 2015.For more detailed information about the works, including drawings of the planned road layouts, please visit www.gov.uk/highways/dartford

Information and tips for drivers using the Dartford Crossing.

…about the new equipment

  • Vehicle detection equipment that reads your number plate and the tag in your vehicle (if you have one) are located on new gantries installed at the Crossing; the old equipment next to the booths is no longer in use.

…when driving southbound (over the QEII bridge) for the next three weeks

  • You won’t need to stop at a barrier
  • You’ll need to follow a temporary road layout, using one of four new lanes

…when driving northbound (approaching the tunnels) for the next three weeks

  • You’ll need to follow a temporary road layout and drive through one of nine booth lanes.
  • Car drivers and motorcyclists can use any lane
  • You don’t need to find the right cash because you can no longer pay at the Crossing.
  • The barrier will lift as soon as you approach it; keeping the barriers for now is essential to maintain tunnel safety while the road layout is improved

Dart Charge – Frequently Asked Questions Dart Charge is a massive change to how people use the Dartford Crossing. Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions about the new payment arrangements:

Why are you making these changes? Removing the need to stop and pay at the barriers will ease congestion and speed up journeys for everyone.

How will I pay? You can make one-off payments:

Alternatively, you can set up a pre-pay account now and receive savings of up to one-third on every crossing made during the charging hours (6am – 10pm) from 30 November.

How can I set up a pre-pay account?

  • Online at www.gov.uk/dart-charge
  • Over the phone on 0300 300 0120
  • By post. Call us on the number above and we’ll send you a registration form.

When do I need to pay the charge? The charging hours are between 6am -10pm every day. It will still be free to use the Crossing between 10pm and 6am.

If you don’t set up a Dart Charge account you will need to pay the charge in advance or by midnight the following day for every crossing you make within the charging hours (6am – 10pm) after the 30 November.

What happens if I don’t pay? If you do not pay by midnight on the day after your crossing, you will face a penalty.

Where can I find further information? Further information and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at www.gov.uk/highways/dartford and everyone can subscribe to receive updates via this page.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 1 December 2014