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Dart Charge - Gov ImageFrom October, the way you pay to use the Dartford Crossing is changing.

It’s all part of a major road improvement programme to reduce congestion at the Dartford Crossing, which crosses the River Thames and links Essex and Kent.

A new payment system, named Dart Charge, is being introduced and this means that you will no longer stop to pay at the barriers, but instead you will be able to pay in advance or by midnight the day after your journey.

Offering a discount of up to a third off, the Dart Charge account means you don’t need to remember to pay, as it can be automatically topped up.

Ways to pay:

  • With a pre-pay account
  • Online
  • By text
  • At retail outlets
  • Over the phone
  • By post

Highways Agency Project Manager, Nigel Gray said: “These changes will improve traffic flow, reduce journey times, and bring about significant benefits to motorists, both locally and from much further afield. It’s one of the country’s most congested parts of the road network, and we’re serious about tackling the problem.”

Number plate reading cameras, lasers and DART tag readers will identify your vehicle as you cross to see how much you need to pay. The system then takes the money from your account or waits to receive payment from you.

Be aware that:

  • If you do not pay in time, you will receive a penalty charge notice, which will apply to both UK and foreign vehicles.
  • It will still be free to use the Dartford Crossing between 10pm and 6am.
  • Discounts for local residents will remain.

The new charging arrangements are just the start of major improvements to Dartford Crossing, with construction works to begin in October. The plan is to replace the current 27 lanes and payment booths with a much simpler road layout with four lanes in each direction – new signs will also be installed.

The improvements to the southbound route over the QEII Bridge are expected to happen quickly. It is expected to take a little longer for the northbound route as a new safety system that stops overheight vehicles from entering the tunnels is needed.

All road works are due to be completed in spring 2015 and due to the size of the construction works, it is advised that there will be an impact to your journey as a result.

To find out more about Dart Charge, please visit