Eighty five per cent of crossings have been paid for since the introduction of Dart Charge at the Dartford Crossing.
Dart Charge, which is designed to speed up journey times at one of the UK’s busiest transport gateways, allows drivers to use the crossing without having to pay the charge at a barrier. Early data suggests drivers are already experiencing improvements, with average journey times between 7am and 7pm cut by more than nine minutes southbound, and more than four minutes northbound when comparing the first two weeks of December and the end of November.
Since Dart Charge launched on Sunday 30 November 2014, around two million crossings have been made during the 6am to 10pm chargeable period, and early indications show that to date around 85% of crossings have been paid for.
One million vehicles are now registered to Dart Charge accounts with project director Nigel Gray stating: “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.”
Under Dart Charge, drivers no longer pay the crossing charge in cash at a barrier. Instead, they pay online, by phone or at one of thousands of payzone retail outlets nationwide, either in advance or by midnight the day after they have used the Crossing. Payment can also be made in advance by post.
New time-lapse video (see below) from the weekend that Dart Charge launched has also been released.
The high definition footage shows the first section of payment booths being removed, and traffic for the first time using the Crossing without having to stop at a barrier.
Work to remove the booths and improve the road layout will continue until spring 2015.