Monday, May 18, 2015

Dartford River Crossing charges motorists double

Some drivers using the Dartford Crossing between Kent and Essex are being charged twice due to glitches with the online payment system which was introduced in November when toll booths were scrapped.

The Automobile Association in Britain has said that early teething problems had persisted and complaints from drivers paying online were not being resolved quickly enough.

Poor customer service

However Highways England said the vast majority of payments were being processed accurately. "The vast majority of the 100,000 chargeable crossings at Dartford made each day are processed accurately and smoothly," the agency said. "Given the scale of transactions from time to time errors will be made for which we apologise unreservedly."

According to the AA, one customer had two payments taken for the same crossing in February and motorists have experienced poor customer service [BBC / BT].

Congestion reduced

While there were hopes that the new charging system would ease congestion problems and while problems still exist at the Dartford River Crossing for the most part delays have reduced. AA president Edmund King said that "the new scheme has undoubtedly eased the congestion at busy times but, for some, there is a new concern regarding the behind-the-scenes bureaucracy that accompanies this supposedly high-tech, non-stop tolling."

Difficulties registering

At its introduction there were also worries expressed by some motorists who said they had difficulty registering on the Dartford Crossing website [tvnewswatch: All change for Dartford River Crossing tolls]. Others said the new system assumed all motorists have Internet access. Indeed, whilst there are other ways to pay the toll, finding information without Internet access remains difficult.

15% fail to pay

Around a month after the introduction of automatic tolls it was reported that nearly 15% of motorists failed to pay the charge and risked fines of £105. Those not pre-paying have until midnight the following day to pay after making a crossing. The penalty for not doing so is £70, reduced to £35 if payment is made within 14 days but rising to £105 if payment is not received within 28 days [This Is Money].

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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