Confusion reigns over Dart Charge
Dart Charge Confusion
Motorists are confused about signs at the Dartford Crossing that are meant to indicate the so-called Dart Charge.
Nearly three out of every five drivers questioned by the AA who see the ‘C’ sign on the M25 mistake it for the London Congestion Charge Zone.
Recent research conducted by the organisation also revealed that 52 per cent of 25,810 motorists polled were not aware that the charging scheme had changed.
Under the new scheme, motorists are no longer able to pay at the barriers but instead must do so either in advance of their journey or by midnight the following day. They can do so online, via the phone, post, at a payzone retail outlet or by setting up a pre-pay account.
The amount of people who failed to pay the charge was 50 per cent worse than at first predicted, which is understandable given the confusion over how to pay.
Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, said: “The ‘C’ sign has some to stand for ‘confusion’ … drivers associate it with entering an area with congestion rather than a charge to use as part of the trans-European road network at Dartford.”
Mr Watters hinted the sign may even be deliberately confusing to motorists to disguise the fact it is a “revenue-raising scheme”. More worrying, he suggested, is the fact drivers and riders are confused when they reach the crossing, which is a big issue that could affect their concentration whilst on the road.
The AA conceded that the charge has helped to alleviate some of the congestion on the roads, but suggested a clearer way to impose road charges could and should be implemented.