One million drivers at risk of M25 Dartford Crossing fines, figures show

Some drivers using the Dartford Crossing are at risk of being fined
Some drivers using the Dartford Crossing are at risk of being fined -Credit:PA

About one million motorists who drive through the Dartford Crossing could be at risk of being fined, figures show. This comes after National Highways changed its service provider for the Dart Charge back in July 2023.

Those using the crossing were told to update their account details. But out of 1.7 million account holders, only 770,000 successfully updated their details as requested.

A National Highways spokesperson said: “When we changed providers for the Dart Charge Service at the end of July 2023, due to banking regulations a large proportion of our 1.7 million account holders had to re-validate their card details in order for us to continue taking payments for crossings made.

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“All account holders were contacted in advance and prompted online, and to date 770,000 account holders have successfully updated their accounts. The Dartford Crossing has around 4.5 million crossings per month and the vast majority of crossings are paid without issue.”

National Highways said a number of things can cause a Dart Charge account to close, including inactivity or invalid payment details. The customer of the account should receive several notifications to inform them of the status and actions needed.

The spokesperson added: “All customers that receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) can submit a challenge. All challenges are reviewed on an individual basis and decisions are made based on the circumstances and evidence provided.

“National Highways have taken steps to stop PCN’s being issued to customers due to issues faced during the transition to the new service and have been reducing or cancelling penalties where appropriate when an appeal is received from affected customers.”

Customers are able to pay for the Dart Charge via a number of different methods. Dart Charge payments need to be made by midnight the day after the crossing or people may be hit with a £70 fine, reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days.

Currently, it costs drivers £2.50 to use the Dartford Crossing in a car, minibus (9 seats or fewer) or motorhome, or £2 if they have an account. Motorcycles go free. Buses, coaches, vans and lorries with two axles must pay £3, reduced to £2.63 with an account. Or for vehicles with more than two axles £6 or £5.19 if you have an account.

Charges apply between 6am and 10pm everyday, including bank holidays and weekends. Around 4.5 million crossings are made between Essex and Kent every month and the majority of crossings are paid without issue, according to National Highways.

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