Toll Booths removed at Dartford Crossing

  • We answer the common questions
  • Cost now increased to £2.50 for cars
  • Can pay online, over the phone or at a Payzone

In November 2014, the toll booths were removed from the UK busiest river crossing, the Dartford Crossing, and commuters now have a choice of paying online, over the phone or at a Payzone terminal.

The new system has reduced journey time, but within the first month of operation, 15 percent (some 700,000) of motorists had failed to pay the toll. In this article, we run you through the whys, hows and whens of the new Dart Charge.

Why were the tolls taken away?

Anyone who has travelled over the Dartford Crossing will know why the tolls have been taken away. Queues of up to 10 miles were not uncommon, with commuters and local residents complaining for years about the congestion. Removing the tolls has cut the average journey time by nine minutes.

How does it work?

Dart Charge, the official name for the new service, will operate in a similar way to the London Congestion Charge and works by an ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera scanning the registration plates of all the vehicles entering the crossing.

How much does it cost?

The prices have recently been increased to £2.50 for cars, £3.00 for two axle goods vehicles and £6.00 for multi-axle goods vehicles, although it remains free between 10pm and 6am. Motorists can set up an account and pay prior to the crossing (and receive a discount), or up until midnight of the following day.

How much is the discount?

For Dirt Tag account holders, the pre-pay system, there is a reduced rate of £1.67 for passenger cars, £2.63 for two-axle goods vehicles and £5.19 for multi-axle goods vehicles. 

What happens if I don’t pay?

Failure to pay by midnight the following day will result in a £35 fine, which itself is only valid for 14 days. If this is ignored, the fine is hiked to £70 and £105 if over 28 days.