We receive a significant number of enquiries via our helpline and online Enquiry Form regarding Dart Charge enforcement. Hopefully the information on this page will be of assistance to you.
The Dartford Crossing became a toll road in 2014. Motorists using the crossing either have to pay the charge in advance or alternatively; make payment by midnight the following day. The payment system is called the Dart Charge and is administered by Highways England. It is similar to the Transport for London (TfL) Congestion Charge scheme. It even shares the same red C logo.
How does the Dart Charge work?
It works by using number plate reading cameras, lasers and tag readers to identify the vehicle using the Dartford Crossing. If you have set up a Dart Charge account, crossing fees will automatically be deducted.
How much is the Dart Charge?
The Dartford Crossing is free to use between the hours of 10pm and 6am. At all other times, the Dart Charge is payable. The amount varies according to the vehicle class which is detailed here.
Vehicle class A: Free
Vehicle class B: £2.50
Vehicle class C: £3.00
Vehicle class D: £6.00
How to pay the Dart Charge
For frequent users of the Dartford Crossing, the simplest (and cheapest) payment method is a pre pay account. Users receive a discount of up to one third on every crossing. You can also pay the Dart Charge by any of the following methods:
Online by visiting the Dart Charge website
By phone on 0300 300 0120 (lines open from 5am to midnight)
By using the Pingit app on any smartphone, available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
By opening a Dart Charge Auto Pay account. Crossing fees are deducted automatically from your debit or credit card. With this type of account, you will be entitled to a one third discount.
By setting up a Pay as You Go account. This is a ‘top up’ account and is ideal if you do not use the Dartford crossing on frequent basis. You will not get a discount with this type of account.
At any one of the thousands of retail outlets displaying the Payzone sign.
What happens if I fail to pay the Dart Charge by midnight the following day?
If you do not pay the Dart Charge by midnight the day after using the Dartford Crossing, a Penalty Charge Notice will be issued. Most importantly, the amount will significantly increase to £70 (discounted to £35 if paid within 14 days). If you have never used the Dartford Crossing before, you should receive a Dart Charge Warning Letter. This letter will advise you that payment will be reduced to £2.50. If you do not pay or make representations within 28 days, a charge certificate will be issued. The penalty charge of £70 increases by 50% to £105.
I paid the Dart Charge late.
Late payment of a Dart Charge is very common indeed. Any payments made after midnight the day after the crossing, will not be credited towards a previous crossing. Instead, your payment will remain as a credit towards future crossings. If you keep your payment receipt, this webpage will tell you which journey your payment was allocated to.
Will Dart Charge enforcement include bailiffs?
If the Charge Certificate remains unpaid after 14 days, Highways England (who administer the Dart Charge) will register the debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre. At this stage, you will be sent a third notice. This notice is called an Order for Recovery (OfR). If payment is not received within 21 days, Highways England will request permission to issue a warrant of control. At this stage, the debt owed will increase to £190.50 to include bailiff fees which are outlined on this page.
Press reports have recently revealed that during 2017, bailiffs made 206,0000 visits to recover unpaid Dart Charges. We have an entire page on our website regarding Dart Charge and Bailiff Enforcement.
Bailiffs and Dart Charge enforcement.
The bailiff companies contracted to enforce unpaid Dart Charges are Marston Group, Equita Ltd and JBW Group. Many motorists only become aware that a Penalty Charge Notice had been issued when they receive a Notice of Enforcement or personal visit from one of the three enforcement companies. The reason for this is usually because all previous correspondence had been sent to a previous address. In such cases, bailiff enforcement will be temporarily placed on hold by completing an Out of Time Witness Statement (TE7 and TE9). We have a page dedicated to this subject here.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice Online:
If you have received a letter or a visit from a bailiff or have any queries about Dart Charge enforcement, you can email a question to us using our online Enquiry Form. Alternatively, you can contact our free helpline. Please refer to our Contact page for further details.