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to hate the Dart Charge?

(20 Posts)
3bunnies Fri 12-Dec-14 21:04:15

Have just had to set up an account to use the Dartford Crossing. Beyond the fact that they promised it would be free once it had been paid for, I don't object in principle to having an account and it saves having to remember to pay every time we cross. I do though object to the automatic payment threshold being set at £10. We only usually cross on a return journey every couple of months. The account will always be topped up whenever it goes below £10 so they will always have 4-6months worth of credit. I can't see any reason (other than greed) to set the threshold so high. Surely £4 credit should be fine unless you are planning to do lots of return trips in one day. As you can set a higher level then surely you would if you were using it everyday.

I know that we could manually increase it but that requires keeping track of when we last topped up and how many journeys we do. It is the same for their school lunches, min threshold is £10, fine if they have lunches everyday but a lot of credit if they only eat once a week, with three dc that could be £30 which is always in credit (as all have to have separate accounts). I.e. they never eat from that £10 as every time it gets down to £10 another £10 is sucked out of our account.

Noodledoodledoo Fri 12-Dec-14 21:19:04

You can set your amount lower. Mine is set to top up when it drops below £5. Can't see online how though but I set my account up over the phone as it was a conversion from Dart tag.

CatWreathkeith Fri 12-Dec-14 21:26:02

I set mine up with £10, then when I checked it today it was down to £1.65 so I added £5.

Haven't had an email since I set it up to say my balance is low or anything, the suspicious part of me wonders if they were hoping I would forget so they could clobber me with a £70 fine...

3bunnies Fri 12-Dec-14 21:57:45

Ah maybe I need to ring up. Online the minimum threshold for automatic payment is £10. I know that I can manually charge it up but that relies on me remembering how full my account is, as they are occasional journeys it is easy to lose track then they will charge me a penalty which I just don't want to risk.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Fri 12-Dec-14 21:59:27

I totally agree, and refused to join the pre-paid lunch cash card scheme at DDs school. I don't see why the catering company should benefit from several thousand pounds of parents' collective money for food that hasn't yet been eaten. I'd prefer my £10 to be in my account rather than theirs thank you very much.

jackydanny Fri 12-Dec-14 22:04:44

It's owned by a French company I think envy

3bunnies Fri 12-Dec-14 22:18:32

We have no choice about the school lunch, we had to join or no food. At least they email me when the account drops low so I can top it up but not sure that the dart does that.

ChickenMe Fri 12-Dec-14 22:57:08

Not into the Dart Charge from the point of view that it's probably selling personal details, monitoring movements and another way to get information by stealth.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Sun 14-Dec-14 21:37:45

I made my DDs take sandwiches.

wheresthelight Sun 14-Dec-14 21:41:39

have they announced where you can pay it manually yet? I use the crossing once maybe twice a year so really don't want to have to top up with £10 that is nit going to get used!

Noodledoodledoo Sun 14-Dec-14 22:24:47

You can pay as you go online - google Dart charge - you benefit from having a prepay account by paying a lower amount (a third off) but if you don't use it regularly you can just pay as you need to like the congestion charge in London. Or there are local places where you can pop in to pay or there is I believe a phone number.

3bunnies Sun 14-Dec-14 22:58:09

I rang and checked and no you can't have a lower limit it has to be £10. Unfortunately we do the journey en route to my parents who don't have the internet and I don't get any reception there on my phone. When we go on a Fri evening we wouldn't have internet /mobile access until Sun when we leave there which is to late. It is often quite stressful going up there as neither is well so always sorting out some issue or other (without the benefit of modern technology, it's a bit of a time warp). A charge like this is easily forgotten when focusing on their needs. PAYG isn't a realistic option. Still resent having the money locked away. A local place is no use as it will be local to neither us or our destination and would be far more hassle than the old system of a toll booth which also employed local staff. If the new system were so great then they could divide the road and send all those who want to pay online through the fast way and keep the tolls for other people and vehicles from abroad. I wouldn't mind so much except that £10 will forever be locked away until we stop using that route, plus in the small print they say they will raise the limit whenever they like, so now it is £10, in two years they may decide that they want to always have £20 and trigger the request at that point.

With the lunches I just pay it when it goes down to £2, but the consequences aren't as big - certainly not a hefty fine. By the time they get their lunch it seems to be nearly hometime anyway, and the school would ring, they've said that children won't go hungry.

3bunnies Sun 14-Dec-14 23:00:51

too late (it is too late!)

Justgotosleepnow Sun 14-Dec-14 23:25:02

And the bridge was paid off years ago. Some people are laughing all the way to the bank. It actually disgusts me

Noodledoodledoo Mon 15-Dec-14 00:08:12

You can PAYG before you travel I believe. You don't have to do it after the journey if that helps.

CointreauVersial Mon 15-Dec-14 00:15:25

If you only cross every couple of months, why don't you just PAYG?

QOD Mon 15-Dec-14 00:32:39

I used it today. We queued, stopped at a manned booth and waited for the red light to change to green and the barrier to go up
er .... wtf? No different other than dearer ... and very badly & distantly sign posted

Noodledoodledoo Mon 15-Dec-14 08:32:37

Were you going northbound? They seem to still be using the barriers that way for some reason possibly to control traffic flow initially or restricted lorries. Guess it will take a while to remove tolls and a new layout. Southbound you are funnelled around one end.

Andrewofgg Mon 15-Dec-14 09:32:02

3bunnies Handling that much coinage securely must have cost a lot of money.

As for employing local staff: the world moves on. If you used to buy film and now take digital photos you have helped put the people who worked in the processing labs out of a job. We can't freeze the world in aspic.

I use PAYG for Dart and it seems to work well

3bunnies Mon 15-Dec-14 09:57:29

I have already explained why I am not going to use PAYG. For those who missed it, my parents are both unwell, there is no internet connection there and no mobile coverage on my phone. I don't always know when I am going to need to go up. Last time I had to dash up as df had been admitted to hospital with another stroke, this time I had to sort out major incontinence issues. I have too much else going on on those trips to guarantee paying on time.

I don't even object to paying in advance on account. I do though think that it is a bit much for them to always have a minimum of £10 in the account when a lower limit of 4/5 pounds would be fine (you can choose a higher limit, not a lower limit). I have decided to count the amount that I save on not using PAYG as interest on the £10 permanently in their account.

On the southbound route you would not even realise that there was a payment other than a few signs at the side, only in English. I imagine that quite a few people will be caught out when they use that route once a year to go on holiday etc. I also agree that it seems excessive to be paying a private company money for something which was paid for years ago and which they said would be free by now.

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