The Dartford Tunnel has decided to increased toll charges AGAIN, outraging motoring groups. In wake of the Government’s plans to increase tolling on British roads, the news displays the ease with which charges can be raised.
From last Sunday, it now costs car drivers £2 to make the 10 minutes journey, rising from £1.50. Two-axle goods vehicles will have to pay £2.50 and heavy goods traffic a staggering £5. The crossing is free for motorcyclists while local residents enjoy discounted rates.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and The AA have spoken out against the price hikes.
IAM’s director of policy and research, Neil Greig noted:
“The rise in Dartford Crossing tolls illustrates perfectly why drivers don’t trust the government on motoring charges. The crossing should have been free once it was paid off ten years ago but instead drivers are still being asked to fork out more for no obvious benefits. If the income raised was seen to go into direct improvements for M25 users then they might be placated but as things stand today drivers are being asked to pay more to sit in the same queues.”
The AA’s president, Edmund King added:
“Long-distance travellers from the UK and Europe, freight, business and regional users have all been sold down the river by successive governments through the unnecessary perpetuation of tolls and lack of future capacity at Dartford. Ramping up the tolls when the majority of users have no alternative about the time and place they cross the Thames is simply impractical and a bridge too far in road charging.”
Opened in 1963, doubled in size in 1980 and a bridge added in 1991, tolling was introduced to pay for additional work, supposed to conclude almost ten years ago. Today, £70 million is raised every year from the Dartford Tunnel’s tolling charges. The charge will rise by another 25% in 2014.