Dartford Crossing

For anyone going back to UK by car, Dartford crossing has done away with toll booths and you need to pay online or at a shop.


We will be spending time with the family and grandsons.

Jane, Agree totally about the palaver. It makes me think about the inmates running the asylum. As for buck-passing, it's probably the only thing that works well in any bureaucracy.

However, I trust you'll have a great time Burying Saint Edmund, as well as trying one or two of the local hostelries and sampling some of the local produce!

We are now in the process of paying this charge, what a palaver.

I looked up on the East Anglian Tourist Board and there is no mention of this charge, although one would have thought that the majority of their tourists travelling by car would be coming from either the Channel Ports or London.

The EATB says that there roads are toll-free and when I called them to mention the crossing they said that it was not in their area. I asked them if their boss was French as they were passing the buck extremely efficiently.

No, it’ll be early morning.
We’ll make the booking nearer the time.
If we hadn’t seen this post we wouldn’t have known anything about it.

Jane - If you can, it's best to avoid the 4:30 - 6:30pm peak, which is when I was travelling, though I guess you've got your reservations already.

This is not encouraging.
We will be going that way on our visit to Bury St Edmunds next month!

It's not as if Dartford is the only example of this kind of thing. Large red circles with a 'C' inside don't carry a lot of guidance for hapless tourists, but they're likely to find big fines landing on their mat if they don't follow the Congestion Charge rules. There are also plenty of non-UK examples. I drove to Munich last autumn & needed a Swiss Autoroute Vignette, and the same again in Austria for just a few kms. (though they offer a short-term vignette). On top of this, I would have needed some kind of sticker to drive in central Munich, had I wished to go there. None of these systems is especially well publicised to tourists, and some of the stickers are easy to obtain, but not all. (The Munich one seems to be fairly complex, but maybe I didn't follow it properly as I didn't actually need it.)

As for cutting congestion at Dartford, this wasn't very apparent when I went through there shortly after the new scheme came into force. You still had to stop for a barrier, which opened after, presumably, it had taken piccies of both you and your number-plate. With the (de-)construction works going on at the same time, it took about 40 minutes of queueing to reach the tunnel itself. This was as bad as I've ever known it, & I lived about 8 miles away for over 15 years.

Dick, my understanding is that as of March 2015 the UK and Europe WILL exchange registration information and the respective countries will prosecute Foreign plated vehicles that speed, jump lights etc.
Jane, the responsibility is on the visitor surely! If we visited a country, Singapore, and chewed gum in public or spat on the side walk I’m sure they would have v little sympathy is we cried “how was I supposed to know, im English” on our way to court. Or even, topical again recently, kissing your partner goodbye in a Shanghai street!

This is all well and good as we understand English well, but how will this appear to tourists?

The online system has gone live now. You can either pay online before you travel by making a one off payment, however, if you travel frequently you can create an account it's cheaper. But if you find that you do need to cross and haven't paid upfront, you can pay before midnight the day of your crossing with no penalty. It's actually really easy now.

And how will they catch up with you if you don't pay, since UK opted out of the EU agreement on cross border exchange of registartion details and fines?

since we will be visiting the UK just after Christmas, I decided to open an account using the link provided by Steve. The sign up was straightforward but of course the computer does not recognise car details from a French registration number - make, model and colour have to be put in manually. Otherwise it was plain sailing. I have opted for the manual top up but remembering to have enough money in the account is no more onerous than remembering to have some coins available, And of course we are looking forward to having no queues at the crossing.

Just realised that there is 1 advantage, people driving LHD cars alone won't have to practice lobbing coins into a bucket from a distance anymore :-)

Martin, that's fine if you live in UK, but what about the tourists going up to places like Cambridge etc?

We will only have to use it once or twice a year and have to remember to do it!

Jane, it’s fabulous idea, long overdue and will hopefully remove a dreadful bottleneck. There are signs everywhere explaining what to do. I would imagine it’s the same company as the congestion charge and that’s v simple.

We will have to do this next Spring.

What happens if you do not know about this? I think it is totally ridiculous.