The Dartford Crossing connects Essex and Kent over the Thames estuary, consisting of two tunnels (one northeast-bound, one southwest-bound) and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.

 

It is considered one of the UK’s most important crossings, handling more than 130,000 vehicles every day. Development of the crossing began back in the 1930s, but was interrupted by World War Two. Work on the first tunnel resumed in the 1950s and was completed by 1963. The second tunnel opened in 1980. By 1991 the bridge was complete.

Do you have to pay to cross the Dartford Crossing?

This route has always been tolled, but the toll became a "charge" in 2003. An electronic charging system was introduced in 2014, making it possible for drivers to pay by phone, text, via a website or in designated Payzone shops.

 

How is the Dartford Crossing toll enforced?

The charge is enforced by checking number plates using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

 

What are the benefits of the electronic payment system?

The new electronic payment system is said to have reduced peak-time journeys by 15 minutes. However, in the first year 1.5m penalty charge notices (PCNs) were issued to drivers who failed to pay the charge.

 

How much is the Dartford Crossing charge?

Motorists must pay a toll to cross the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing between 6am and 10pm. The amount that you have to pay depends on your vehicle. We’ve outlined the current fees below.

 

Cars: £2.50

Two-axle goods vehicles: £3.00

Multi-axle goods vehicles: £6.00

Motorcycles: Free

 

For those who use the crossing on a regular basis, it is worth setting up a Dart Charge account, which would result in the following reduced fees:

 

Cars: £2.00

Two-axle goods vehicles: £2.63

Multi-axle goods vehicles: £5.19

Motorcycles: Free

 

Do I have to pay a toll if I plan to cross the Dartford Crossing between 10pm and 6am?

No, you will not need to pay. The toll is only applied to those travelling between 6am and 10pm.

 

Can cyclists cross the Dartford Crossing?

Cyclists are not allowed to cross the bridge, but their bicycles can be carried by bridge transport services for free. To arrange the transfer, simply use the telephones at each end of the bridge. This service isn’t available 24 hours a day, so check it's working ahead of arrival.

 

How do I pay to cross the Dartford Crossing?

Use the website: www.gov.uk/pay-dartford-crossing-charge

- Phone: 0300 300 0120

- Textphone: 18001 0300 300 0120

- A shop with a Payzone terminal. Find your nearest by visiting payzone.co.uk.

- By post in advance to: Dart Charge, PO Box 842, Leeds LS1 9QF

 

How long do I have to pay the Dartford Crossing toll?

After crossing, you have until midnight the next day to make payment. Conversely, you can use the online service to pay up to a year in advance.

 

By enrolling with a company called Dartsave, you have up to 21 days to make the payment after completing a crossing. The firm sends email payment reminders every time you cross.

 

How much is the penalty for not paying the Dartford Crossing charge?

If you don't pay on time: £70 penalty fee

However, this is reduced to £35 if paid within two weeks. But if you do not pay within 28 days, the fine goes up to £105.

 

This penalty system applies to each crossing, so failure to pay a two way trip for 28+ days could result in a hefty £210 charge.

 

If you feel you have been given a penalty notice incorrectly, you can tell Dart Charge by making a "representation". If this results in a "notice of rejection" you can appeal or pay the fine.

 

How to save money on the Dartford Crossing

You can set up a Dart Charge account and save about 30% per car crossing. Sign up here,

with your personal details, vehicle details, and debit/credit card information. you just add £10 to start a standard account.

 

If you live in Dartford or Thurrock, you can get a discount. Simply upload or post your vehicle details; council tax bill; proof of Dartford/Thurrock address (utility bill etc.); proof your vehicle is registered in Dartford/Thurrock; debit or credit card.

 

For £20, you can make use of the crossing as much as you want for a year.

 

Are disabled motorists exempt from the Dartford Crossing charge?

Any vehicle registered as being owned by a disabled person is automatically exempt from paying. The ANPR system checks this automatically; you do not need to do anything.