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New figures released today by Highways England show that 44,127 Dartford and Thurrock residents are now benefitting from significantly discounted journeys at the Dartford Crossing under the Dart Charge Local Resident Discount Scheme – a 32% increase since last year.
It is estimated that these discounts have been worth over £1 million since the introduction of Dart Charge last November – an average of over £100,000 a month.
The news comes as local people are being reminded to complete their annual account renewal to continue to benefit from the discounts. Extra support has been put in place to make this process as quick and easy as possible for everyone.
Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said:
It’s great that more people than ever are taking advantage of the discounts available to local residents using the Dartford Crossing. Since Dart Charge launched last November, 14,000 more people have signed up for the local discount. However, the accounts need to be renewed each year, and with Dart Charge’s anniversary approaching there are around 10,000 local discount accounts due for renewal over the next six weeks.
We are writing to each of these customers explaining what they need to do and the extra support we have put in place to help them. I strongly encourage them to follow these instructions and renew their account as soon as possible to make sure they continue to benefit from the discount. I would also like to remind any local residents that use the Dartford Crossing but don’t have an account yet to set one up as they are missing out on significant discounts. There are over 100,000 households in the Dartford and Thurrock areas which means there are tens of thousands of local residents not benefitting from the discounted crossings.
Under the local residents discount scheme, people living in Dartford and Thurrock can pay £20 a year for unlimited crossings on the Dartford Crossing, or alternatively pay £10 a year for 50 crossings, with additional crossings charged at 20p each.
Renewing is easy, and can be done via our web page, or by phone on 0300 300 0120.
To simplify the process this year, existing account holders do not need to provide any extra supporting evidence of their local residence status. Once the annual payment is made their account will be automatically renewed on the due date.
A specialist team of advisers is available to help with the renewal process, with extra trained staff available for this peak renewal period.
Dart Charge was introduced last year to speed up journeys at the Dartford Crossing and give drivers more flexibility about how and when they pay the crossing charge. Last week new figures were released showing how journeys over the crossing are on average 7 minutes 30 seconds quicker southbound and 3 minutes 30 seconds quicker northbound since the introduction of Dart Charge. Highways England continue to work with partners to ensure all approaches to the tunnels in Kent are working as well as they possibly can.
The Local Residents Discount Scheme is only available to people living in Dartford and Thurrock but other drivers can save up to a third on every crossings by having a Dart Charge pre-pay account.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.