New payment arrangements went live at the Dartford Crossing at 6am yesterday morning (November 30).

Instead of stopping at a barrier to pay the Dartford Crossing charge, drivers now need to pay online, by phone or post or at one of thousands of retail outlets nationwide.

Payment can be made in advance or up to midnight the day after using the crossing.

The last cash payment was made at 10pm on Saturday (November 29).

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Meanwhile last night four booths on the left-hand-side of the southbound carriageway were removed. Work will continue over the coming months.

This morning's rush hour provided the first big test for the new system.

Chris Smart, the director of Smart Freight Solutions, told News Shopper that traffic this morning was free flowing in a southern direction but built up going north.

He said: "Coming from north to south it was nice, it was free flowing, traffic was moving nicely.

"But going north it was a nightmare, it took about 45 minutes to get through.

"Once they've removed all the toll booths on that side I'm sure it will improve.

He added: "I had my reservations when the plans were first announced however I think it should hopefully alleviate problems.

"It was such a bottleneck before, it wasted so much time and money.

"It'll take a bit of time to get it all sorted, but overall I think it's a good thing."

On social media reaction has been mixed, with some thrilled with the changes.

However others were not so impressed.

Frank McConnell, 68, a former primary school teacher from London Road, Swanley, said he struggled with the payment switch.

The chairman of Sevenoaks District Seniors Action Forum - an organisation for people over the age 50 - told News Shopper: "These things are supposed to be a doddle and it wasn't.

"When it came to putting in my bank account details, which is always a thing I'm wary of anyway, it wouldn't work for me.

"I didn't know if I was in or wasn't in.

"There I was doing the thing that everyone wants me to do and the government website wouldn't work.

"I had to call them up and they sorted it out but the point is it was supposed to be easy, quick and convenient, and it wasn't.

"I wasn't impressed by that and I cannot be the only person who has had a problem."

Mr McConnell added: "The bridge is paid for, the tunnel is paid for and this is just another tax, just another easy way of ripping people off, people who are working and have no choice but to go that way.

"It makes life difficult for businesses. Do I believe it's going to help?

"I think it is a case of don't hold your breath, another bit of spurious political argument. I don't believe it's going to change anything at all."

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Highways Agency project director Nigel Gray said: "Dart Charge marks the start of a new chapter for the Dartford Crossing. It is the first step in speeding up journeys for the tens of thousands of drivers who use the Crossing each day.

"Over the coming months we will be transforming the road layout and when this work is complete in spring next year drivers will feel the full benefits of these improvements.

"We all want to see less congestion and quicker journeys at the Crossing and we are on course to deliver that which is great news for drivers and great news for the economy.  

"Over 200,000 people have registered for pre-pay accounts and from today will save up to a third on every crossing.

"It is the easiest and cheapest way to pay Dart Charge and I encourage anyone who uses the crossing to register for savings at"

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Saturday traffic

On Saturday, the tolls were twice suspended and reinstated amid traffic tailbacks caused by the introduction of Dart Charge.

Charges on the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing southbound were suspended at 9.55am to help ease severe congestion.

They were reinstated at 12.47pm.

Later charges on the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing southbound were again suspended at 3.05pm, and reinstated at 6.55pm.

The A282 northbound was particularly badly hit, with queues stretching as far as Junction 30 of the M25. 

Removal of toll booths

Work started to remove the toll booths last night.

The work will replace the current 27 lanes and payment booths with four lanes in each direction, and will continue until spring 2015.

Last night the QEII bridge was fully closed, from 11.30pm until 5.30am, with signed diversions in place via the Blackwall Tunnel.

This allowed barriers from the four booths on the left-hand-side of the southbound carriageway to be completely removed, creating four lanes.

Traffic coming over the QEII bridge now flows continuously off the bridge without stopping.

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Work will continue to take place on the A282 southbound (including QEII Bridge), A282 northbound (including Dartford tunnels) and Junction 31 on the M25 (clockwise).

New traffic management measures are also being installed on the northbound approach to the tunnels to maintain safety and manage over-sized vehicles and those carrying dangerous goods.

There will be four main phases of roadworks, each requiring different traffic management arrangements. 

Throughout all phases reduced speed limits will apply and will be clearly signed, with speed enforcement taking place.

Police will be on site regularly, to encourage safe driver behaviour.

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How to pay Dart Charge

You can set up a pre-pay account online at, by phone on 0300 300 0120 or by post. Call the number above and you will be sent a registration form.

If you already have an account with DART-Tag there is no need to set up a new account – instructions will be sent to you to tell you how you can transfer to Dart Charge.

If you I don’t want an account, you will be able to make one-off payments from November 30; online at, by phone on 0300 300 0120, by post to PO Box 842, Leeds, LS1 9QF and at one of thousands of Payzone retail outlets. You will need to pay the charge in advance or by midnight the following day for every crossing you make within the charging hours.

If you do not pay by midnight on the day after your crossing, you will face a penalty.

Click here for 11 things you need to know about Dart Charge.

What's been your experience of the Dartford Crossing this morning? Call the news desk on 01689 885 711 or e-mail