If you’re used to driving around the M25 to the east of London, you’ll know the Dartford Crossing all too well. Spanning the River Thames, the Dartford crossing had toll booths in place for many years. But in 2014, the booths were demolished and the Dart Charge payment was introduced.
The removal of those physical barriers was designed to speed up traffic (estimates suggest this has reduced peak journey times by around 15 minutes). While drivers being required to pay the Dart Charge was designed to reduce the volume of traffic using the crossing. However, the crossing remains busy (carrying around 160,000 vehicles a day) and the Dart Charge payment is something that HGV drivers from across Europe and beyond are all too familiar with.
If you’re new to trucking or want to find out more about how to pay the Dart Charge and how to save money, you’re in the right place.
Here are answers to some of your key Dart Charge payment questions.
Who pays the Dart Charge?
All drivers crossing the Thames via the Dartford Tunnel (northbound) or Queen Elizabeth II Bridge (southbound) need to pay the Dart Charge. The only exception to the rule are motorcyclists and you have until midnight the following day after making the crossing to pay.
How to pay the Dart Charge
How you pay the Dart Charge is very similar to how you pay the London Congestion Charge. The system uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to identify the vehicles that need to pay.
One-off payments can be made in advance or by midnight the day after you have made the crossing.
You can make your payment in the following ways:
– Pay Dart Charge online: Go to the gov.uk webpage – Pay the Dartford Crossing charge (Dart Charge)
– Pay Dart Charge by phone: Call 0300 300 0120
– Payzone: Visit a Payzone retail outlet
– Post: Send your payment to – Dart Charge Customer Services, PO Box 842, Leeds, LS1 9QF (with this option, payment can be made in advance only)
– Pay as You Go: The Dart Charge can be paid automatically when you use the crossing. Simply register your vehicle and payment details in advance
– App: You can also pay for single crossings using the Dart Charge app
How to save money paying the Dart Charge
Setting up a pre-pay account is the cheapest way to pay as you get a discount when you use this method of payment. You can save up to a third compared to the standard payment.
Businesses are able to set up a commercial account, which will save them money on the Dart Charge. And local residents (people living in the Dartford or Thurrock council-tax zones) are eligible for a significant discount. £10 a year gives you 50 free crossings, with all subsequent crossings costing just 20p, or £20 a year gives you unlimited crossings.
For more information about the Dart Charge, visit the gov.uk webpage.