Toll-free crossing to ease jams?

Thurrock Gazette: Notorious – long queues regularly hold up traffic at the crossing Notorious – long queues regularly hold up traffic at the crossing

TOLL booth barriers at the Dartford Crossing could be lifted at peak times, the Department for Transport has said.

It is also to ask the Highways Agency to look at whether new licence plate recognition technology could be used in a bid to ease traffic flow on the notorious stretch.

The Dartford Tunnel and Queen Elizabeth II bridge handle about 150,000 vehicles a day and campaigners say using the crossing should be made free as it has now paid for itself since opening. The crossing currently costs £1.50 for cars between 6am and 10pm.

Comments (25)

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10:56am Sun 25 Jul 10

APR says...

It'll never happen.
It'll never happen. APR
  • Score: 0

11:18am Sun 25 Jul 10

TheWizzard says...

Not really toll free, the barriers will be replaced by number plate recognition cameras
Not really toll free, the barriers will be replaced by number plate recognition cameras TheWizzard
  • Score: 0

11:28am Sun 25 Jul 10

AuldGit says...

If everybody thinks it's going to be free at peak times, surely this can only INCREASE the number of vehicles at peak times!
If everybody thinks it's going to be free at peak times, surely this can only INCREASE the number of vehicles at peak times! AuldGit
  • Score: 0

11:49am Sun 25 Jul 10

jackdt09 says...

AuldGit wrote:
If everybody thinks it's going to be free at peak times, surely this can only INCREASE the number of vehicles at peak times!
Do you really think because they don't have to pay £1.50 that people who don't need to go anywhere are just going to think 'hmmm might take an unnecessary trip across the Dartford Crossing now its free'?
Additionally even if there were loads more cars because of it, its still quicker than everyone having to stop for the tolls and tailbacks for miles and miles because everyone will just go through, no hold up.
[quote][p][bold]AuldGit[/bold] wrote: If everybody thinks it's going to be free at peak times, surely this can only INCREASE the number of vehicles at peak times![/p][/quote]Do you really think because they don't have to pay £1.50 that people who don't need to go anywhere are just going to think 'hmmm might take an unnecessary trip across the Dartford Crossing now its free'? Additionally even if there were loads more cars because of it, its still quicker than everyone having to stop for the tolls and tailbacks for miles and miles because everyone will just go through, no hold up. jackdt09
  • Score: 0

11:53am Sun 25 Jul 10

itsgary says...

I have given up using the crossing weekends, you queue for well over an hour sometimes longer. I did purchase a dart so I could use the lane that was reserved just for users , that was ok, it was quicker, then guess what they let other users use it so you were no better off. We were all told when it was paid for it would be free, yet its turned into another stealth tax.
I have given up using the crossing weekends, you queue for well over an hour sometimes longer. I did purchase a dart so I could use the lane that was reserved just for users , that was ok, it was quicker, then guess what they let other users use it so you were no better off. We were all told when it was paid for it would be free, yet its turned into another stealth tax. itsgary
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Sun 25 Jul 10

wickman says...

if pigs could fly
if pigs could fly wickman
  • Score: 0

4:37pm Sun 25 Jul 10

Nebs says...

£3 northbound, free southbound. Same total price to pay for a return journey, but no queues one way. Swap northbound and southbound prices every month.
Less "change given" barriers, more "correct money only" barriers. People will soon learn to have the right money.
Monthly fine for the bridge/tunnel operators based on the congestion caused.
£3 northbound, free southbound. Same total price to pay for a return journey, but no queues one way. Swap northbound and southbound prices every month. Less "change given" barriers, more "correct money only" barriers. People will soon learn to have the right money. Monthly fine for the bridge/tunnel operators based on the congestion caused. Nebs
  • Score: 0

5:37pm Sun 25 Jul 10

Goonerboy says...

The problem got worse when they made it £1.50. Most people have a pound in the glove box but rarely £1.50. You can see that since then rather than 7 or 8 automatic barriers they have 3 or 4 with the rest having to be manned , it must be costing them more in staff costs. Why is it that it takes a few months of a stupid idea from the authorities to find out what the campaign to stop the charges told them before they implemented it
The problem got worse when they made it £1.50. Most people have a pound in the glove box but rarely £1.50. You can see that since then rather than 7 or 8 automatic barriers they have 3 or 4 with the rest having to be manned , it must be costing them more in staff costs. Why is it that it takes a few months of a stupid idea from the authorities to find out what the campaign to stop the charges told them before they implemented it Goonerboy
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Sun 25 Jul 10

BASILBRUSH says...

I use the tolls regularly and have a Dart tag. Mainly to save a third of the price (as its meant to be free). I can't say i have ever queued for more than 30 mins (if that), but something has to be done.
The delays must cost the overall economy far more than the revenue created.
If number plate recognition is the go, then get on with it. But make sure the police are next to it to catch the tax and insurance Dodgers too.
That doe's not detract from the original promise of a free bridge once paid for originally!
I use the tolls regularly and have a Dart tag. Mainly to save a third of the price (as its meant to be free). I can't say i have ever queued for more than 30 mins (if that), but something has to be done. The delays must cost the overall economy far more than the revenue created. If number plate recognition is the go, then get on with it. But make sure the police are next to it to catch the tax and insurance Dodgers too. That doe's not detract from the original promise of a free bridge once paid for originally! BASILBRUSH
  • Score: 0

11:22pm Sun 25 Jul 10

Trainman says...

IF I have to cross the Thames, I will use the Blackwell, or Rotherhithe Tunnels first.

WHY should we keep paying for something that has L-O-N-G been paid for?
IF I have to cross the Thames, I will use the Blackwell, or Rotherhithe Tunnels first. WHY should we keep paying for something that has L-O-N-G been paid for? Trainman
  • Score: 0

11:32pm Sun 25 Jul 10

See-the-real says...

If I have to cross the thames I swim.
If I have to cross the thames I swim. See-the-real
  • Score: 0

11:38pm Sun 25 Jul 10

Nebs says...

All the delays, car sitting in jams with the engine running, burning petrol, more petrol tax for the government, they have a vested interest in causing delays.
All the delays, car sitting in jams with the engine running, burning petrol, more petrol tax for the government, they have a vested interest in causing delays. Nebs
  • Score: 0

7:58am Mon 26 Jul 10

Mr Anory. Jack says...

Very good replies given here.
Ever thought about a campaign, to charge the crossing company for your time stuck in jams, the Co. watches you on cctv already, they already know who you are, and how long you sit, stuck in a jam, so, play role reversal time.
As most self employed drivers charge for services, call out times and the like, send the dartford crossing company a bonafide bill for time spent on the bridge.
After all, it`s YOUR time on there dam bridge.
Very good replies given here. Ever thought about a campaign, to charge the crossing company for your time stuck in jams, the Co. watches you on cctv already, they already know who you are, and how long you sit, stuck in a jam, so, play role reversal time. As most self employed drivers charge for services, call out times and the like, send the dartford crossing company a bonafide bill for time spent on the bridge. After all, it`s YOUR time on there dam bridge. Mr Anory. Jack
  • Score: 0

9:08am Mon 26 Jul 10

haggydaggy says...

The tolls should be removed, they were there to pay for the bridge which was payed for quite a few years ago! but as usual it has turned into another revenue for the government......got to pay for two illegal wars some how I suppose.
Just think how well the traffic would run if they weren't there!!
The tolls should be removed, they were there to pay for the bridge which was payed for quite a few years ago! but as usual it has turned into another revenue for the government......got to pay for two illegal wars some how I suppose. Just think how well the traffic would run if they weren't there!! haggydaggy
  • Score: 0

9:57am Mon 26 Jul 10

shallotman says...

Of course we could organise a no payment day. Within two hours the M25 would be at a standstill. Didn't they do this up in Scotland some years ago, their now enjoy a toll-free trip.
Of course we could organise a no payment day. Within two hours the M25 would be at a standstill. Didn't they do this up in Scotland some years ago, their now enjoy a toll-free trip. shallotman
  • Score: 0

12:11pm Mon 26 Jul 10

AuldGit says...

No, jackdt09, I don't think anyone is going to use the crossing simply because it is free, but some will time their journey to avoid the charge, therefore actually increasing peak time use - just as the free use before 6 a.m. seems to cause a mad rush with drivers breaking speed limits to get through before the charge is applied
No, jackdt09, I don't think anyone is going to use the crossing simply because it is free, but some will time their journey to avoid the charge, therefore actually increasing peak time use - just as the free use before 6 a.m. seems to cause a mad rush with drivers breaking speed limits to get through before the charge is applied AuldGit
  • Score: 0

12:16pm Mon 26 Jul 10

Goonerboy says...

shallotman wrote:
Of course we could organise a no payment day. Within two hours the M25 would be at a standstill. Didn't they do this up in Scotland some years ago, their now enjoy a toll-free trip.
Like this idea, original campaign stoppped at protests over the bridge .
[quote][p][bold]shallotman[/bold] wrote: Of course we could organise a no payment day. Within two hours the M25 would be at a standstill. Didn't they do this up in Scotland some years ago, their now enjoy a toll-free trip.[/p][/quote]Like this idea, original campaign stoppped at protests over the bridge . Goonerboy
  • Score: 0

12:21pm Mon 26 Jul 10

jackdt09 says...

AuldGit wrote:
No, jackdt09, I don't think anyone is going to use the crossing simply because it is free, but some will time their journey to avoid the charge, therefore actually increasing peak time use - just as the free use before 6 a.m. seems to cause a mad rush with drivers breaking speed limits to get through before the charge is applied
I think the rush at 6am isn't to avoid the cost, its to try and avoid being trapped in traffic waiting to pay and possibly to avoid the inconvenience of digging out change.
If there were no barriers then think how easily traffic would flow, not only at the crossing but for miles onto the M25.
The only down point is they would need to up security in case of terrorism as people would drive freely. Some warnings about large vehicles and a police presence should theoretically sort that, though.
[quote][p][bold]AuldGit[/bold] wrote: No, jackdt09, I don't think anyone is going to use the crossing simply because it is free, but some will time their journey to avoid the charge, therefore actually increasing peak time use - just as the free use before 6 a.m. seems to cause a mad rush with drivers breaking speed limits to get through before the charge is applied[/p][/quote]I think the rush at 6am isn't to avoid the cost, its to try and avoid being trapped in traffic waiting to pay and possibly to avoid the inconvenience of digging out change. If there were no barriers then think how easily traffic would flow, not only at the crossing but for miles onto the M25. The only down point is they would need to up security in case of terrorism as people would drive freely. Some warnings about large vehicles and a police presence should theoretically sort that, though. jackdt09
  • Score: 0

1:29pm Mon 26 Jul 10

MippaChippa says...

You'd need to have some sort of barrier there - charge or no charge. I don't know exactly how many lanes there are from North to South but 8 lanes down to about 4 on the other side would increase accidents - all converging down to narrow lanes. If the tolls and barriers went altogether you'd need extensive road works costing millions.
You'd need to have some sort of barrier there - charge or no charge. I don't know exactly how many lanes there are from North to South but 8 lanes down to about 4 on the other side would increase accidents - all converging down to narrow lanes. If the tolls and barriers went altogether you'd need extensive road works costing millions. MippaChippa
  • Score: 0

2:10pm Mon 26 Jul 10

VANGE LES says...

MippaChippa wrote:
You'd need to have some sort of barrier there - charge or no charge. I don't know exactly how many lanes there are from North to South but 8 lanes down to about 4 on the other side would increase accidents - all converging down to narrow lanes. If the tolls and barriers went altogether you'd need extensive road works costing millions.
If they got rid of the toll booths, like is being proposed, there'd be no reason for the road to be as wide as it currently is - it could be four lanes on the bridge, 4 lanes thru the bit where the tolls used to be, and 4 lanes going south (just as it is now).
And the same could be applied northbound as well.
[quote][p][bold]MippaChippa[/bold] wrote: You'd need to have some sort of barrier there - charge or no charge. I don't know exactly how many lanes there are from North to South but 8 lanes down to about 4 on the other side would increase accidents - all converging down to narrow lanes. If the tolls and barriers went altogether you'd need extensive road works costing millions.[/p][/quote]If they got rid of the toll booths, like is being proposed, there'd be no reason for the road to be as wide as it currently is - it could be four lanes on the bridge, 4 lanes thru the bit where the tolls used to be, and 4 lanes going south (just as it is now). And the same could be applied northbound as well. VANGE LES
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Mon 26 Jul 10

westcliff willi says...

Personally i like to see a system where only foreign cars and trucks are charged to cover their lack of british road tax
Personally i like to see a system where only foreign cars and trucks are charged to cover their lack of british road tax westcliff willi
  • Score: 0

4:08pm Mon 26 Jul 10

jolllyboy says...

Pigs ight fly first.
Pigs ight fly first. jolllyboy
  • Score: 0

5:26pm Mon 26 Jul 10

BASILBRUSH says...

"Personally i like to see a system where only foreign cars and trucks are charged to cover their lack of british road tax"

So do you pay road tax when you drive on the continent to your host nation?
You don't pay road tax here either, You pay a vehicle tax. ;)
"Personally i like to see a system where only foreign cars and trucks are charged to cover their lack of british road tax" So do you pay road tax when you drive on the continent to your host nation? You don't pay road tax here either, You pay a vehicle tax. ;) BASILBRUSH
  • Score: 0

10:28pm Mon 26 Jul 10

westcliff willi says...

foreign lands have a very low level of road tax that is then topped up with tolls.
have you ever wondered how many of the increasing number of foreign registered cars on our roads are insured or taxed either here or in there home country
foreign lands have a very low level of road tax that is then topped up with tolls. have you ever wondered how many of the increasing number of foreign registered cars on our roads are insured or taxed either here or in there home country westcliff willi
  • Score: 0

12:50pm Tue 27 Jul 10

ST 1 says...

If they are to use Number Plate Recognition to bill drivers for using the crossing, would everyone have to register their bank details beforehand? This is okay for regular users, but for those who use the crossing occasionally, particularly those who are not local, this is a real pain.

And of course, this increased reliance on camera enforcement for speeding, tolls, bus lane use etc. has increased the use of false registration plates, cloning and failure to register vehicles properly. Will we be seeing an increase in policing to tackle this increase and make the system fair for law abiding users?

Just do away with the tolls, remove the booths entirely, and sort out the road layout. It will be far more efficient, quicker, safer, less polluting and no extra big brother camera systems.
If they are to use Number Plate Recognition to bill drivers for using the crossing, would everyone have to register their bank details beforehand? This is okay for regular users, but for those who use the crossing occasionally, particularly those who are not local, this is a real pain. And of course, this increased reliance on camera enforcement for speeding, tolls, bus lane use etc. has increased the use of false registration plates, cloning and failure to register vehicles properly. Will we be seeing an increase in policing to tackle this increase and make the system fair for law abiding users? Just do away with the tolls, remove the booths entirely, and sort out the road layout. It will be far more efficient, quicker, safer, less polluting and no extra big brother camera systems. ST 1
  • Score: 0

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