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Do I need to pay a charge for the Dartford Crossing? How to pay the Dart Charge

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The Dartford Crossing connects the two sides of the eastern River Thames, and consists of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and two tunnels. Around 50 million vehicles use the Crossing annually. As the only crossing east of Greater London, it suffers from heavy congestion - despite the toll booths having been removed in 2014.

Where is the Dartford Crossing?

The Dartford Crossing is part of the M25 and joins Dartford in Kent (south of the river) with Thurrock in Essex (north of the river).

Plans for Dartford were created in the 1930s, with the crossing opening in several stages - the final one being the QEII Bridge in 1991.

Cost of Dartford Crossing

The cost of building the crossing has since been recouped by decades of tolls - but they remain in place. The current costs of using the crossing are as follows:

VehicleOne-off PaymentAccount holder payment
Cars (including trailers), Motorhomes, Passenger vans and Buses with fewer than nine seats£2.50£2.00
Goods vehicles with two axles (including vans and small trucks)£3.00£2.63
Larger multi-axled goods vehicles£6.00£5.19

As shown above, there's a discount for those with pre-paid accounts. Locals can use the crossing an unlimited number of times for £20 a year; or £10 a year for 50 crossings.

This charge is sometimes known as the M25 toll cost, but the M25 is toll-free except for the Dartford Crossing section.

How do you pay for the Dartford Crossing?

You can pay for crossings up to 12 months in advance, or by midnight the day after you use it. There are no toll booths. Instead, number plate recognition cameras (ANPRs) scan registrations to determine if a user has paid - or will need to pay. You can pay Dartford Crossing online by visiting here.

You can also pay at a PayZone outlet, over the phone (0300 300 0120), or in advance by post (Dart Charge Customer Services PO Box 842 Leeds LS1 9QF).

Dartford Charge: Paying fines

If you fail to pay for a crossing by midnight the following day, you will be charged a fine (penalty charge notice) of £70, reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days. If the notice remains unpaid after 28 days, a £105 ‘charge certificate’ will be issued.

Note that the original crossing fee must also be paid.

The Crossing's operator states it also pursues charge evaders on continental Europe.

When is the Dartford Crossing free?

You can use the Dartford Crossing without charge between 22:00 and 06:00.

Dart Charge check: How do I know if I've paid?

To work out if you've paid for a crossing or not, log into your Dart Charge account and select 'Account management', then 'Payment'. You can also call 0300 300 0120 if you haven't been given a receipt.

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