Dartford free flow criticised by motoring group

May 27 2015  

Dartford free flow criticised by motoring group
Complaints from drivers claiming to have been charged twice for use of the Dartford Crossing have prompted the AA to criticise the Dart Charge free flow tolling system.
 
The motoring group said it was clear soon after Dart Charge began in November that some users were experiencing computerised ‘glitches’ when attempting to pay online, resulting in cases of double charging.
 
This, it added, could have been dismissed as an irritating but not unexpected teething problem. But by February it was apparent that early problems were not going away.
 
“The new scheme has undoubtedly eased the congestion at busy times,” said AA president Edmund King. But, he added: “Those who seek help with problems they have experienced with the 'back office' may get frustrated when problems are not resolved quickly or easily enough.”
 
The AA has called for a transparent review of Dart Charge’s customer service standards and the performance of its electronic processes.
 
A Highways England spokesman said: “The vast majority of the 100,000 chargeable crossings at Dartford made each day are processed accurately and smoothly. Given the scale of transactions from time to time errors will be made for which we apologise unreservedly. We continue to work hard to ensure that errors are kept to an absolute minimum.”
 
Meanwhile a new safety system is due to open at the Crossing on the weekend of 13 and 14 June, Highways England has revealed.
 
The system will identify vehicles that are oversized or carrying dangerous loads to help stop and turn them around before they enter the tunnels, which run northbound from Kent into Essex.
 
Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said: “This new safety system is vital for the safe operation of the tunnels and will enable us to remove the old payment barriers for good.”
 
(Photo: Highways England)

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