DRAWINGS of how the Dartford river crossing on the M25 will look following the introduction of a new payment system have been released by the Highways Agency today (Monday, October 13).
Four open lanes in each direction will replace the existing 27-lane payment plaza when Dart Charge, which removes the need for drivers to pay at booths, comes into force next month.
The approach to the Dartford tunnels will be enhanced with technology and dedicated extra lanes to help identify and turn away prohibited vehicles.
Removal of the payment booths will coincide with Dart Charge going live in late November and is expected to be complete next spring.
More than 33,000 people have signed up for Dart Charge updates and the Dart Charge team have been answering hundreds of questions about the project from interested drivers.
It ha put together the following list of the most common questions and responses.
Q: How will I be able to pay the crossing charge?
A: Dart Charge will give you much more flexibility about how and when you pay the Dartford Crossing charge. You will be able to pay online, by phone, by post or at one of thousands of Payzone terminals at shops nationwide. You can pay up to a year in advance or by midnight on the day after your journey.
Q: Will I still be able to pay in cash at the crossing?
A: No. Dart Charge will reduce congestion by removing the need to stop at a barrier to pay the charge at the crossing.
Q: Do current discounts and exemptions still apply?
A: Yes, exemptions and discounts will still apply.
•Where vehicles are currently legally exempt from paying the crossing charge, these exemptions will continue. This includes vehicles exempt from paying Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Blue badge holders are not exempt; the vehicle itself must be registered as exempt from VED.
•Residents of the boroughs of Dartford and Thurrock will continue to be entitled to discounts on the road user charge through the Local Residents’ Discount Scheme.
•Everyone will be able to benefit from a discount in the crossing charge by setting up a Dart Charge pre-pay account and keeping it in credit- you can save up to one-third on each crossing.
•Mopeds, motorcycles, motor tricycles and quadricycles (quad bikes) will still be permitted to use the crossing for free.
Q: What happens if I don’t pay?
A: If you don’t pay for your crossing by midnight the day after your journey, you will be issued with a penalty charge notice. This is Â£70, reduced to Â£35 if you pay within 14 days. If the penalty charge is not paid within 28 days it will increase to Â£105. The Dart Charge team will have enforcement arrangements in place across all of Europe, so will be able to enforce the charge both in the UK and abroad.
Q: I’m worried that I won’t be ready for the change – what do I need to do?
A: If you sign up for updates at www.gov.uk/highways/dartford you will be kept informed every step of the way. The Dart Charge team is dedicated to making the scheme as simple as possible, and giving people plenty of time and information to help them prepare for the changes.