Transport User Voice – June 2023 – Dartford crossing experience

31 May 2023

Results of our pilot

Are drivers happy about paying to use roads? With more than 160,000 vehicles a day using its tunnels and roadways, the Dartford Crossing is the busiest river crossing in the UK – and the only part of the National Highways network that drivers must pay a charge to cross.

Drivers using this key piece of national infrastructure linking the M25 north and south of the Thames have been taking part in a pilot survey over the last year, to find out more about their experiences when using different payment methods and the crossing overall.

Starting in January 2023 we tested two approaches – first asking Dart Charge account holders who had used the crossing in the previous four weeks, and then drivers who had completed our Strategic Roads User Survey (SRUS).

By March 2023 when the survey closed we had 539 passengers who had shared their thoughts. Around two-thirds were happy with their experience using the crossing. But those approaching from the south and using the tunnels were more likely to experience disruption, and therefore said they had a poor experience in contrast to those approaching from the north and using the bridge.

We found that asking Dart Charge account holders worked well but asking those who’d just completed our strategic roads survey did not produce as many responses as we needed in order to give us a good sample. We’ll be doing further thinking about how best to capture the experience of drivers who use pay as they go as their preferred method of payment. We expect to roll out the full survey in its updated form later in the year. Watch this space!

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