DAGENHAM, England, August 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
From October 2014 the barriers for the Dartford Crossing will be removed and motorists will not have to stop to pay to cross the bridge, due to new legislation approved by the Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond. Comfort Insurance looks at the positive and negative issues with the new tolling charges.
The change will involve having a "free flow" toll system where users will have to pre-pay online, by phone, text or at selected shops instead of having to stop at the toll booths. The changes to the tolling charges were announced earlier this year and the Highways Agency says that the new changes will improve journey times and reduce delays.
Anish Devkaran, Comfort Insurance's Internet and Marketing Manager says, "People who use the Dartford to Thurrock crossing on a regular basis will understand the need to reduce congestion and traffic. However the charges will still be a blow, especially since the rates are increasing by 25%."
The toll is currently £2.00 but will increase to £2.50 for standard cars and motorhomes, although discounts are available through the Dart Tag scheme and local residents are eligible for additional discounts .
Number plate recognition technology will be in place to record motorist's journeys and drivers are advised to pay before they start their journey. The penalty for non-payment is £70 although if paid within two weeks is reduced to £35. However, it increases to £105 if not paid within 28 days.
The Highways Agency spokesperson said that it is estimated the "free flow" toll system will have a 93% compliance rate.
Anish thinks that this is quite an optimistic figure and says, "There are a lot of foreign vehicles and non-UK lorries that use the crossing on a daily basis which may incur a loss of revenue, as the penalties are difficult to issue. Then there are other issues like the registered drivers of the vehicles who can't be or are difficult to be traced."
The crossing is currently used by 140,000 vehicles a day and in another effort to combat congestion, three potential locations along the River Thames between Thurrock and Dartford have been put forward for another crossing.
Comfort Insurance is a family run and an award winning specialist motorhome insurance provider who has been in the industry for over 20 years. You can find out more about Comfort Insurance and their awards here: http://www.comfort-insurance.co.uk/
SOURCE Comfort Insurance