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Toll charges on the Dartford Crossing will increase by 50p from October this year, it was announced today.

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Cash charges will increase from £1.50 to £2 for car users, from £2 to £2.50 for 2 axle goods vehicles and from £3.70 to £5 for heavy goods vehicles.

Motorcyclists will continue to have free access to the crossing and discounts for local residents and drivers who pay in advance will also continue.

The price hike is being made to pay for free-flow electronic charging in order to tackle congestion and improve journey times.

A second price hike will be made once the free-flow charging is in place - estimated at October 2014 - when the fee will rise to £2.50 for cars, £3 for 2 axle vehicles and £6 for heavy goods vehicles.

The Department for Transport also announced there will be a full review of the Local Residents’ Discount Scheme to consider how it can be improved.

Road Minister Mike Penning said: “The Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing is a vital piece of transport infrastructure that has brought huge economic benefits to the country. But currently it can’t meet the growing demands of drivers so we need to plan properly for the longer term.

“That’s why we’ve given a commitment not only to introduce free-flow charging by the autumn 2014 but also to build a new crossing in the Lower Thames area. We have also listened carefully to what people have said about our proposals on charging, which is why charges will not increase until later this year. The proceeds will help us prioritise investment for much-needed improvements to capacity and journey times.”

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