Road User Voice – September 2016 – Improving the Dartford crossing experience
24 August 2016
Mystery charges and confusing signs – Transport Focus has stepped in to help road users with the Dart Charge.
We welcomed the change from a traditional toll to the new online payment system at the Dartford crossing. This is the bridge (southbound) and tunnels (northbound) that cross the Thames and connects the M25 in Essex with the M25 in Kent.
However, we had picked up concerns about the payment process and the administration of Penalty Charge Notices for non-payment.
We worked with Highways England to help improve the Dart Charge website, making it easier to use. We highlighted that some road users, particularly those using a hired vehicle, had received a Penalty Charge Notice even when they had already paid.
We welcome Highways England’s commitment to deliver improvements. We still think there needs to be clearer signage at the crossing. Road users should know what it will cost before they commit to make a purchase. We also think displaying the price would provide a stronger ‘call to action’ to reduce the number of users who genuinely don’t understand there is a fee to pay.
Transport Focus has also reviewed the quality of online information available for cyclists wishing to cross with their bike. We found that there was no official source of information of how to make use of the service available. Following our recommendations to Highways England a new page has now been created – you can view it here.
We will continue to work with Highways England to help it make improvements. You can download our letters and the responses we have received here.