England: Nigel Gray apologises for 'unanticipated' problems with Dartford Crossing system
Highways England (HE) has admitted hauliers have been overcharged while paying off penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued under Dart Charge
Six months after Dart Charge was launched, drivers have instead faced a vast array of errors caused by its computer system.
From being double-charged for crossings to having money pinched from motorists’ bank accounts, readers have regularly contacted the KM Group complaining of their frustrating experiences with the system.
Now, Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray has apologised for the “unanticipated” high number of problems.
He said: “I totally accept that too many people have had problems, and on behalf of Highways England I want to apologise to these people who have had issues.
“They should not have had that experience but we are working hard to put in place fixes and to give people a better customer service.
“I am not complacent about this, but it is a very high transaction business and things will happen from time to time.
“To be fair, a lot of these things are our fault, but sometimes as with all these systems, the website makes an error.
“We are experiencing more problems than we anticipated but I do think what we are experiencing is fairly typical of an IT system being introduced.
“Every day, 120,000 people use the crossing within the charging period… this is a real high volume system.”
He added: “Since the system started, we have dealt with 20 million crossings. The vast majority of crossings have gone failry smoothly.
To make matters worse for Mr Gray, it was recently revealed that one in four foreign drivers did not pay their toll during the first four months of Dart Charge’s operation.
Mr Gray said: “What these figures show is that the vast majority of drivers are paying their Dart Charge, and that non-payment is being followed up appropriately.
“We understand that Dart Charge is a significant change, and we are working hard to strike the right balance between being absolutely clear that drivers need to pay the charge, while giving people the maximum opportunity to avoid a penalty.
“It is simply not true that foreign drivers are getting off scot-free. We have enforcement arrangements across Europe, and have already passed nearly 60,000 cases to our European debt recovery agent for collection.”
source: CM / kentonline.co.uk