Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

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fras
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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by fras » Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:38

We see the occasional thread on Pepipoo.com on DART Penalty Charge Notices, and are now getting them for Mersey Gateway, the new bridge at Runcorn. The same company manage the tolling for both bridges. It has to be said that, unlike councils enforcing parking and bus lanes, that they are far more forgiving of first time offences. Both bridges have no tolling booths. The Mersey tunnels still have toll-booths and I suspect this caused a lot of confusion early on as people would have expected to pay at a toll booth. Fortunately, many of the early PCNs issued to first-timers were cancelled on appeal provided the toll was paid. I believe this principle still applies, but of course it relies on people submitting appeals; many just pay-up.

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Jeni » Sat Sep 07, 2019 18:50

I got caught out forgetting to pay at Dartford a few months back.

Got a "hey, you might not have realised so we'll give you a reminder to pay" letter, which worked well.

Certainly not the hard line that some like to make it there is.

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Berk
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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Berk » Sat Sep 07, 2019 18:51

Jeni wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 18:50
I got caught out forgetting to pay at Dartford a few months back.

Got a "hey, you might not have realised so we'll give you a reminder to pay" letter, which worked well.

Certainly not the hard line that some like to make it there is.
I often feel folks who have an axe to grind are maybe the ones who can’t follow instructions very well.

Like some of the customers I have to deal with at work. They think you can get a passport for free, just by posting a form in!! :laugh:

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by fras » Sat Sep 07, 2019 20:06

Jeni wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 18:50
I got caught out forgetting to pay at Dartford a few months back.

Got a "hey, you might not have realised so we'll give you a reminder to pay" letter, which worked well.

Certainly not the hard line that some like to make it there is.
Nice to have confirmation that venality and rapacity is pretty much absent from these two crossings ! Would that councils behave in a similar manner, but the money is too good to miss.

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Scratchwood » Mon Sep 09, 2019 14:57

fras wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 20:06
Jeni wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 18:50
I got caught out forgetting to pay at Dartford a few months back.

Got a "hey, you might not have realised so we'll give you a reminder to pay" letter, which worked well.

Certainly not the hard line that some like to make it there is.
Nice to have confirmation that venality and rapacity is pretty much absent from these two crossings ! Would that councils behave in a similar manner, but the money is too good to miss.
They make so much money from the Dartford crossing (which should now be free anyway, seeing that the bridge has long been paid for) that they can afford to be charitable...

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by WHBM » Mon Sep 09, 2019 16:41

Southbound the bridge is fine nowadays. But northbound through the tunnels is anything but freeflow. There seems a desire to stop the left hand bore the second any tanker shows up, and hold them all until it's through. Even off peak it's commonly a significant delay.

Do the Authority charge for escorting tankers through ?

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Berk » Mon Sep 09, 2019 21:06

WHBM wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 16:41
Southbound the bridge is fine nowadays. But northbound through the tunnels is anything but freeflow. There seems a desire to stop the left hand bore the second any tanker shows up, and hold them all until it's through. Even off peak it's commonly a significant delay.

Do the Authority charge for escorting tankers through ?
They should. I observed exactly the same thing, coming back from holiday.

Why should hundreds of others have to wait for a sole tanker to be guided thorough?? Why can’t they be asked to drive back and join the queue for the eastern bore??

The tunnels are a laughing stock. They shouldn’t be used as part of the trunk road except in adverse weather conditions.

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by c2R » Mon Sep 09, 2019 21:58

Berk wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 21:06
WHBM wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 16:41
Southbound the bridge is fine nowadays. But northbound through the tunnels is anything but freeflow. There seems a desire to stop the left hand bore the second any tanker shows up, and hold them all until it's through. Even off peak it's commonly a significant delay.

Do the Authority charge for escorting tankers through ?
They should. I observed exactly the same thing, coming back from holiday.

Why should hundreds of others have to wait for a sole tanker to be guided thorough?? Why can’t they be asked to drive back and join the queue for the eastern bore??
I don't understand? They're held and escorted through for safety reasons - not because they've picked the wrong bore.

There are also extra charges for abnormal vehicles.
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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by WHBM » Mon Sep 09, 2019 22:05

No, nothing to do with height, the tankers fit both tunnels. Only the western bore is stopped, but regulars pushing across to lanes 3/4 to avoid this further saps capacity.

But is there any other tunnel in the country where every tanker requires the traffic to be held while they are escorted through.

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Berk » Mon Sep 09, 2019 22:36

c2R wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 21:58
Berk wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 21:06
WHBM wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 16:41
Southbound the bridge is fine nowadays. But northbound through the tunnels is anything but freeflow. There seems a desire to stop the left hand bore the second any tanker shows up, and hold them all until it's through. Even off peak it's commonly a significant delay.

Do the Authority charge for escorting tankers through ?
They should. I observed exactly the same thing, coming back from holiday.

Why should hundreds of others have to wait for a sole tanker to be guided thorough?? Why can’t they be asked to drive back and join the queue for the eastern bore??
I don't understand? They're held and escorted through for safety reasons - not because they've picked the wrong bore.

There are also extra charges for abnormal vehicles.
But how long does the process have to take?? Traffic speeds are quite low in the area (easily less than 10mph), despite the tunnel having a 50 limit (and a minimum of 10, which is pretty much flouted every single day).

The tunnels are just over ⅞-mile. It should not take much longer than a few minutes (no more than 2, really) for the whole consist to move through (how many escort vehicles??).

Yet when I passed by, the queue for the western bored was just growing, and growing, and growing. Like I say, there as plenty of time to observe it, as I was easily waiting 15/20 minutes in the queue for the other tunnel.

Why does it take ½-hour or more to escort vehicles through?? And is it really sensible to make 1000s of other vehicles queue on whilst that’s taking place?? It’s not about the escorting process, we understand why that’s in place, but the way it’s carried out.
Last edited by Berk on Mon Sep 09, 2019 23:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by c2R » Mon Sep 09, 2019 23:33

It doesn't take half an hour; typically they do about four escorts an hour. The holding of the traffic tends to occur if there are queues the other end, beucase they don't want traffic stopped in the tunnels, particularly if the hazardous vehicles are down there.

The problem really is that there simply isn't enough road crossing capacity east of London given all the cross-channel freight that needs to use it.
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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Bryn666 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:59

WHBM wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 22:05
No, nothing to do with height, the tankers fit both tunnels. Only the western bore is stopped, but regulars pushing across to lanes 3/4 to avoid this further saps capacity.

But is there any other tunnel in the country where every tanker requires the traffic to be held while they are escorted through.
Dartford is a Category C ADR tunnel. If they didn't do the escorts through it would be rated E due to its design and age and relative lack of safety provision for handling an incident involving vehicles with a major explosion risk inside it. If it was rated E then many vehicles from Dover would be screwed.
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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by A303Chris » Tue Sep 10, 2019 13:47

Bryn666 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:59
WHBM wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 22:05
No, nothing to do with height, the tankers fit both tunnels. Only the western bore is stopped, but regulars pushing across to lanes 3/4 to avoid this further saps capacity.

But is there any other tunnel in the country where every tanker requires the traffic to be held while they are escorted through.
Dartford is a Category C ADR tunnel. If they didn't do the escorts through it would be rated E due to its design and age and relative lack of safety provision for handling an incident involving vehicles with a major explosion risk inside it. If it was rated E then many vehicles from Dover would be screwed.
Bryn, thanks for that, makes sense. That is proballey why they are going for the second Thames Tunnel,
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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Johnathan404 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 14:19

I have seen vehicles escorted through the Wallasey-Kingsway Tunnel, though I can't remember what loads. Traffic wasn't stopped, but held back. It's easy to appreciate that the congestion here would never be anything like at Dartford and perhaps they'd have stopped the traffic if it was.
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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Bryn666 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 14:45

Johnathan404 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 14:19
I have seen vehicles escorted through the Wallasey-Kingsway Tunnel, though I can't remember what loads. Traffic wasn't stopped, but held back. It's easy to appreciate that the congestion here would never be anything like at Dartford and perhaps they'd have stopped the traffic if it was.
The Kingsway is a Category D so even more strict.
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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by KeithW » Tue Sep 10, 2019 14:58

They escort such vehicles through the Tyne Tunnel too. At one time the rules were so restrictive they used to require an escort for caravans with butane or propane bottles. When there was only one tunnel that was causing massive delays in summer so it was eventually waived. This was before the A1 Western bypass was built so the only alternative was to go through central Gateshead and Newcastle.

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by RichardA35 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 15:10

c2R wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 23:33
It doesn't take half an hour; typically they do about four escorts an hour. The holding of the traffic tends to occur if there are queues the other end, beucase they don't want traffic stopped in the tunnels, particularly if the hazardous vehicles are down there.

The problem really is that there simply isn't enough road crossing capacity east of London given all the cross-channel freight that needs to use it.
Agreed, I go through northbound once or twice a week and whilst there may be intermittent queues on the approach, I have only once seen the traffic lights on red and had to stop specifically for an escorted vehicle. I do regularly see several vehicles waiting patiently for an escort of which there will be a finite and relatively small number and may, of course, be on the north side having completed a transit.

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by fras » Tue Sep 10, 2019 19:13

Why not just bar all bulk DGs, and make the trucks go round the other way, the M25 is a circle, after all. Heath and Safety fascists strike again ! Network Rail don't insist on all trains being stopped to allow freight trains with DGs to pass through tunnels, it would cause complete chaos. This includes the Severn Tunnel that is four miles long under the Bristol Channel

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Chris5156 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 20:09

fras wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 19:13
Why not just bar all bulk DGs, and make the trucks go round the other way, the M25 is a circle, after all. Heath and Safety fascists strike again ! Network Rail don't insist on all trains being stopped to allow freight trains with DGs to pass through tunnels, it would cause complete chaos. This includes the Severn Tunnel that is four miles long under the Bristol Channel
Making fuel tankers travel an extra 100 miles around the most congested side of the M25 could just as easily be described as "health and safety fascists strike again". The current solution of escorting loads at least allows the tankers to use the tunnel, rather than making the most easterly usable crossing of the Thames the one at Staines.

Trains carrying fuel or other hazardous loads don't carry remotely the same risks as fuel tankers in road tunnels, for all sorts of obvious reasons. Entirely different rules apply, and understandably so. For what it's worth, though - only one train ever occupies a signal block, and the Severn Tunnel is a single signal block, so only one train can ever be in the tunnel in any one direction. In the Severn Tunnel even a passenger train has to emerge from the far end before another is allowed to enter.
Last edited by Chris5156 on Tue Sep 10, 2019 20:15, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Dartford Crossing - Free Flow Charging

Post by Big L » Tue Sep 10, 2019 20:13

fras wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 19:13
...the M25 is a circle, after all...
No it's not.
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