Dartford Crossing Payment System

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Hymie | 23:08 Thu 01st Jan 2015 | Motoring
19 Answers
Over the Xmas break I have had cause to use the Dartford crossing a number of times, and the following article concerning a large number failing to pay – resulting in a £105 fine, makes interesting reading.

I can understand why so many fail to pay – some might very well be under the impression that the tolls are no longer in place, unless you take careful note of the signage at the crossing; especially when crossing via the bridge southbound, where there are no barrier/control gates.

Although payment can be made up until midnight the following day (of the crossing), it is easy to let such a payment slip your mind.

Having paid for my eight crossings at £2.50 a time (4 payments of £5), the receipts received via e-mail give only the date of payment, payment method (credit card) together with reference numbers. Nowhere on the receipts is the vehicle registration for which the crossing was purchased.

If at some later date, those who administer the fines for failure to pay, claim I have not paid – I will have no proof whatsoever that I paid for my crossing.

I predict a flood of complaints from motorists who have been fined, claiming that they have paid for the crossing, but like myself have proof of a payment to cross – but not proof that it covers the crossing for which they are being fined (watch this space).


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//reference numbers. //

I would assume the reference no's in their system would detail which vehicle they referred to ie Registration details.

If you use the Dartford Tunnel why not get a Dart Charge a/c? It works out cheaper and you get a reminder when your running low on funds. You can also make sure all payments have been made when you log into your account.
It uses ANPR ( automatic number plate recording ) same as speed cameras/ police cars.The reference number on your ticket is traceable to your cars number plate , no one else can claim to have paid by using your ticket. There will be a photo of your car showing it crossing with the date and time.
Thank you for reminding me to set up an account (so that my payments are taken automatically from my debit card). It's not rocket science!

However it will be interesting to see if I actually get charged. Most ANPR cameras seem to have a problem with my (completely unmodified, totally legal) number plates. The ones at Stansted Airport's mid-stay car park have never got it right yet!
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I don't use the crossing with such regularity to make it worth my while setting up an account.

If some jobsworth claims that my receipt refers to some other crossing (due to their incompetence) - who do you think New Judge will believe, me or the official?
Are foreign-registered vehicles also targetted? After all, there will be many of those coming in from Dover and using Dartford.
//Are foreign-registered vehicles also targetted? //

nope. the recent charge increase includes an offset against those with non-uk registration plates, whose toll cannot be collected because it's in the too difficult box.
///Foreign drivers have been setting up accounts too, with 3% of overall accounts - around the same proportion of foreign vehicles that that use the crossing each day. Registrations from 52 different countries have been received so far///
From the Gov website
Evasion is likely to involve both UK-registered and non-UK-registered vehicles. The automatic number plate recognition system recognises non-UK vehicles and a European debt recovery agency will support the recovery of outstanding charges. This approach has proven successful with similar schemes such as the central London Congestion Charging scheme.
//Non compliance will be dealt with by penalty charge notice (£35 if paid within 14 days plus the original road user charge) with those for NON-UK vehicles being issued via a European debt recovery agency//
Hymie if it came to a court case your reference number has a photo linked to it. That photo will show the actual car and number plate just like a speed camera fine does (same system) with a time and date. No one can claim another car crossed using your reference number the photo will prove which car it was.
The same system has worked perfectly well for years with speed cameras.
During Christmas week I used the crossing for the first time since setting up my Dart Charge account. It worked a treat and I checked my account online when I got home. It showed my two crossings, the time I made them and the Reg number of my car. All the information was recorded correctly

I have a few criticisms of the new system though and these relate to the information provided to "non-regulars". It is very scant and if you were from outside the London/Kent/Essex area you may be unfamiliar with the changes. The fact that you need o pay by midnight the next day is not very well publicised and I can imagine a number of people being unaware of this and finding themselves with a penalty charge.

I'm not sure what information you have to give when you pay for a crossing in cash after the event but I imagine you must provide your reg number and the date and time of the crossing. In the event of a dispute I believe that, as with parking charges, the matter will not go to a criminal court but will become a civil debt recoverable in the County Court. If the receipts do not show the crossing details I can imagine there being some difficulties and I am surprised this has not been covered.

Even if you use the crossing infrequently setting up an account is worth doing. You get the crossings (for a car) at £1.66 instead of £2.50; you can "top up" the account as and when you wish and the credit does not expire. It only takes a few minutes to set one up.
I just don't get all the moaning, it's a vast improvement on the old booth system. You can pay in advance, with or without an account, you can pay after. The receipt is tied to a unique reference what's the problem? If you cannot use this system effectively then frankly you'd have trouble walking and talking, the crossing is least of your problems! do you want it carved into a stone tablet or something? Toll booths are 15th century, they all need removing if only to improve traffic flow.
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New Judge makes an interesting comment re the receipts not listing the vehicle details and possible difficulties.

I should point out that in inputting the vehicle reg, the payment system displays the vehicle make/model etc, thereby minimising user error in relation to this – but nonetheless, no vehicle details appear on the receipt.
Then take a screenshot of the input screen, Hymie. It is not absolute proof (because you could abort the process before payment) but it will go a long way towards proving your case should push come to shove.

But these are minor problems which may not arise at all and I quite agree with 3Ts. Once the roadworks to remove the toll plaza are completed the traffic should flow much more smoothly. There will still be delays because there are major junctions just either side of the tunnel (A2 and A13) which cause congestion in themselves. There will also be hold ups when convoys of "Hazchem" lorries are escorted through. But it must be an improvement on having to fiddle about with pennies and ha'pennies whilst you're driving.

There seems to be a broad school in the UK that is opposed to anything new. I have a relative who refuses to use a credit or debit card. He says "they" will know what he's spending. Quite why "they" should be interested in the spending habits of a retired junior local government official is a bit beyond me. But refuse he does and he spends his time drawing wads of cash from the bank and doling it out to meet his everyday expenses. Still I suppose it stops him moaning.
My gripe is we shouldn't be paying at all. We have more than paid for the bridge already.
that's true hopkirk but the main gripe seems to be that there is a new payments for toll system rather than actually paying at all.
I don't see why they couldn't have left one or possibly 2 toll booths open. As a general rule we don't have tolls on British motorways and there will be people coming along surprised to find one and these people may not have a means of paying the toll within 24 hours.
how can anyone possibly not come up with £2.50 in 24 hours?
On your way to the continent? No internet access?

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