Author Topic: Dartford Crossing - M25 drivers fined £145 after botched IT upgrade  (Read 469 times)

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Offline Web Admin

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M25 drivers fined £145 after botched IT upgrade

Story by Madeleine Ross
24 April 2024

The Dartford Crossing, which is part of the M25 motorway, is formed of two tunnels and the Queen Elizabeth II bridge

Drivers have been fined £145 after a botched IT upgrade left them unable to register to use the Dartford Crossing online.

Some motorists said they have been fined despite not using the bridge, while others said that they are still struggling to pay charges for the crossing between Kent and Essex – eight months on from an IT upgrade.

National Highways, which is responsible for managing the tolls on the M25 crossing, was forced to temporarily extend the deadline for using the crossing last August after an IT upgrade sent its payments system into meltdown.

Six months on, motorists are still facing similar issues when trying to pay the toll, which is £2.50 for a one-off crossing for a car when paid online.
Driver John Sturgis, from London, said that he uses the Dartford Crossing to travel to see his parents in Kent one weekend a month.

He said: “I have been registered as a user for some years so I know I won’t forget to pay after using it. But after my last journey in February – out on Saturday, back on Sunday – I got texts and emails saying my payment had failed.”

Mr Sturgis said that he had been told that he needed to re-register his card, and tried several cards, but the payment would not go through, despite trying daily for a fortnight.

“It’s clearly a glitch on their system and not something I can reasonably be held accountable for. I eventually got emails apologising and saying ‘case closed’ to every contact I had sent them,” he added.

But he has now been fined £145 for the journey. He said that he had spent 90 minutes on the phone with the customer service line on Monday, before he was told to send an email.

He then received a reply that stated they couldn’t deal with his complaint over email and suggested that he write back to the same email address.

Mr Sturgis said: “It’s absolutely ludicrous. And when you do get through to a human they are too stressed or lost in the system to be able to do anything other than direct you back to the automated processes which plainly don’t work.”

He added: “Meanwhile, I want to visit my parents this weekend but daren’t in case I incur another £145 in fines”.

Another driver told the Telegraph that he had received a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) in April for a trip he had supposedly taken in February. But at the time of the charge, he had been sitting at his desk at work.

He said: “They claim the offence took place in February. The letter included two very sketchy photos but it seems as though my licence plate is attached to a car that looks like it could be mine”.

The driver said that he has logged a challenge and has been told that he would hear back in 56 days. But he said that he won’t pay any fine.

“They responded to me saying they’ll get back to me within 56 days – I’m yet to hear anything. I have declined to pay any fine and will continue to decline if they try to uphold it,” he said.

One driver said online that they have had seven PCNs for the bridge, despite living in Dorset.

Others wrote on social media that their number plates had been misread by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, or had been cloned by criminals, leading to erroneous charges.

The Dartford Crossing, which is part of the M25 motorway, is formed of two tunnels which carry northbound traffic and the Queen Elizabeth II bridge, which carries southbound traffic and was opened in 1991. Up to 160,000 vehicles regularly use the crossing each day.

The so-called “Dart Charge”, which was introduced in 2014 to replace the toll booths, uses ANPR to charge cars. The Ulez scheme uses the same technology.

Charges can be paid in the 12 months before the crossing, or by midnight the day after, with fees only applying between 6am and 10pm. Those who don’t pay the toll will receive a £70 Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), which rises to £105 if it is not paid within 14 days.

A National Highways spokesperson said: “Following the implementation of the new contract there were some unforeseen technical issues which affected customers. Dart Charge continues to monitor and improve the service for its customers.”

Offline scalyback

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Re: Dartford Crossing - M25 drivers fined £145 after botched IT upgrade
« Reply #1 on: 25 April, 2024, 07:58:56 PM »
Are they using the Post Office's Horizon system? :-)


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