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Dartford Crossing tolls to rise next month
10:36am Wednesday 5th September 2012 in News
THE news Thurrock motorists have been dreading is fast approaching.
Roads minister Mike Penning announced Tuesday that charges for the Dartford Crossing will increase from Sunday, October 7.
The Gazette reported in May the Department of Transport was determined to raise the charges by 50p for cars in October, but the minister had yet to name the exact day they would rise.
Despite 82 per cent of those who took part in the consultation on the charges disagreeing with any increase, Mr Penning claims the Department of Transport has “listened carefully” to the views of motorists.
He said: “The Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing is a vital piece of transport infrastructure, but upgrades need to be made.
“To do that, we need to start planning now for the future.
“We have listened carefully to what people have said, which is why charges that were meant to be implemented towards the end of last year have been delayed until now.
“The money raised will help us prioritise investment for much needed improvements to increase capacity and reduce journey times.”
The new charges come into force from 6am on October 7 and will see car drivers forking out £2 per crossing, those who drive light goods vehicles charged £2.50, and HGVs facing an eye-watering rise of £1.30 at £5 per crossing.
On average, around 150,000 motorists use the crossing every day, which means that with the new rise, the crossing will be bringing in a minimum of £300,000 a day.
Brian Warren, the company director of road haulage firm V.E.K Transport in Grays, has called the rises “disgusting”.
He said: “For HGV’s that’s an increase of more than 30 per cent, it’s just disgusting. “I worry that it will just keep going up and up too.
“It’s costs that you just have to absorb as a business, you can’t pass it onto customers as often you’re in fixed contracts, its just hideous really because there’s no alternative route.”
DFT has also confirmed it is still planning to increase the tolls again when free-flow charging is introduced, which is scheduled for autumn 2014.
Motorists will then be charged £2.50 in car, £3 in a light goods vehicle, and £6 if driving a HGV.
The crossing will still be free for motorcyclists and everyone who uses it between 10pm and 6am.
Residents in Thurrock, who are eligible to buy a dart tag for £10, allowing them to cross 50 times and then pay an additional 20p each time after, will get to keep their discount.
Thurrock Council leader John Kent has urged all residents to apply for one now. He added: “In Thurrock we are starting on a journey of regeneration, we are aiming to bring thousands of new jobs to our borough, yet we are supposed to do this while the cost of using the crossing rockets.
“That’s not encouraging regeneration, growth and business, but it is making the council’s job of persuading businesses to come here more difficult than it needs to be.”