The Dart Charge website is still inaccessible to many customers, leaving drivers worried about potential fines as the deadline to pay fees for the previous weekend's journeys over the Dartford Crossing approaches.

The website was down for maintenance over the weekend, causing automatic payments to be suspended and customers asked to manually pay once the website was back online or via phone.

However, even with the extended payment period of midnight on August 1, some customers say they are still unable to access the site to pay their fees.

National Highways has announced that it is “looking to extend the payment period for crossings made since Thursday, June 27 past Tuesday, August 1 to account for the system issue” and that it will issue more information as soon as possible.

Currently a message on the website reads: “Pay the Dartford Crossing charge (Dart Charge). To manage high demand, you have been placed into a queue.”

National Highways, responsible for the maintenance of the Dartford Crossing, has apologised for any inconvenience caused by the ongoing website issues.

Highways expressed gratitude for the understanding of road users during this maintenance period, which it said aims to improve the Dart Charge system as the responsibility for vehicle identification, payment processing, and account management is transferred to a new service provider called Conduent.

Emovis will continue to handle inquiries for Penalty Charge Notices.

A spokesperson for National Highways said the Dart Charge website and contact centre are experiencing exceptionally high demand due to the recent system improvements.

They urged customers to be patient while they work to resolve inquiries and access issues.

National Highways will provide more information on this as soon as possible.

The inaccessibility of the Dart Charge website and the extended maintenance period has caused frustration among users who have taken to social media with their concerns about potential fines for unpaid fees.

@DozeeePetBedCo on Twitter said: “How long? You can't possibly intend to issue PCN after this fiasco. People physically CAN'T pay.”

@Badgers_queen1 tweeted: “I've been waiting with my browser open for three hours....are you having a laugh?! If I can't pay before midnight, it's not my problem, it's yours!”

Phone lines were also overwhelmed at the weekend, with some customers saying that they waited hours to speak with a representative over the weekend.

Customers are also concerned about not being able to revalidate their cards due to the ongoing website issues.

Originally, Highways stated that card revalidation was necessary by July 28, but this deadline was pushed back due to the maintenance work.

This means that account holders, including Pay as You Go customers, may face penalties if their crossings are not automatically paid if they do not revalidate their cards.

National Highways claims it reached out to affected customers and that direct instructions were sent to account holders about revalidation in May 2023, with a second round of communication taking place from July 3 to July 22.

National Highways continues to work towards resolving these issues and providing updates to affected users.

A National Highways spokesperson said: “The Dart Charge contact centre and website is currently experience exceptionally high demand after the system improvements made over the weekend.

“To help ease pressure we have placed people in a queue, which will mean a short delay in accessing the website and our call centre advisors. We thank people for their patience while we work hard to resolve everyone’s enquiries.”