Over 1000 fleets have signed up for the Dart Charge payment system ahead of its introduction later this month, according to the Highways Agency. 

Overall, over 100,000 vehicles have been registered for the charging system, while 53% of those are registering for an auto top-up so they don’t have to remember to pay.

The Dart Charge system will use automatic number plate recognition technology (APNR) to pick up vehicle numbers plates and then administer a charge to that vehicle.

Motorists can pay the Dart Charge from a pre-paid online account linked to their car’s number plate, or they can pay online, by phone, text or a Payzone shop after they have driven through the crossing.

The time limit for paying after a journey is set at midnight on the day after travel. After that drivers will be fined  £35 each time they drive throughto be paid within 14 days.

The current 27-lane ‘payment plaza’ will be replaced by four lanes in each direction, while the approach to the tunnel will have extra lanes to identity and turn away prohibited vehicles from the tunnels.

Work to remove the payment booths will coincide with Dart Charge going live in late November, and is expected to completed by April. The HA said all road works are being planned to minimise disruption.

“For most people using the Dartford Crossing, a prepay account will be the cheapest and most convenient way to pay the crossing charge. I’m really encouraged by the take up so far, but urge all drivers who use the Crossing to sign up for an account and benefit from the discount it offers,” said Nigel Gray, project director at HA.