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Dear Reporter EXTRA

PUBLISHED: 10:42 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 23 August 2010

Your toll woes HUNDREDS of readers have backed our campaign to ditch the toll on the Dartford crossing in just one week. More than 200 readers have pledged their support for our Stop The Toll campaign by signing our online petition at www.dartfordtimes.

Your toll woes

HUNDREDS of readers have backed our campaign to ditch the toll on the Dartford crossing in just one week.

More than 200 readers have pledged their support for our Stop The Toll campaign by signing our online petition at www.dartfordtimes.co.uk.

Our offices in Gravesend and Sidcup have also been inundated with coupons calling for a one-month pilot of a toll-free crossing.

Many more have written in to express support for our campaign.

Here are just a few of your letters...

Where's the money?

THE Dartford crossing is nothing more than a licence to print money for this money-grabbing government.

The tolls should be removed as promised when the crossing was paid for (2003) but like 99 per cent of politicians' promises they fail to deliver.

I believe the crossing takes in something like £200,000 a day, where does this money go?

STAN EARL

BY EMAIL

No one listened to us

YOU are right to highlight the unfairness of the new tolling regime, and I have had a number of constituents contact my office to express their anger at the rise.

Earlier this year, I campaigned for Bexley to be included in the local discount scheme that had been proposed for Dartford and Thurrock residents, raising the issue with Ministers in the House of Commons and through correspondence. Many of my constituents in Crayford, Slade Green and Erith live closer to the crossing than many in both Dartford and Thurrock.

However, the government were again not interested in listening to the views of the people of Bexley.

DAVID EVENNETT

MP FOR BEXLEYHEATH

AND CRAYFORD

No tolls mean less congestion, not more

I WAS one of those unfortunate enough to have to use the Dartford crossing twice on Monday, 17 November, being the first weekday operation of the new crossing tolls. I can certainly confirm that the queues going north in the morning were back to the A2 and those in the late afternoon coming south were back to junction 29, a distance of over six miles. I find the argument that without tolls 17 per cent more traffic would try to use the Dartford crossing leading to more congestion entirely spurious. Without tolls there would be a total of eight unrestricted lanes crossing the river between Kent and Essex, which should easily cope with such an increase in traffic.

The transfer of long distance traffic to the Dartford crossing following a removal of tolls would most probably also serve to reduce congestion on the A2, A12 and A127 into London as well as at the Blackwall Tunnel.

Everyone would seem to benefit, even those not regularly using the Dartford crossing.

DAVID TOSER

EYNSFORD

Six reasons why the

crossing must be axed

THE use of Dartford tunnel as a means of collecting general tax once the crossing was paid for is scandalous and should end immediately.

The overall cost to the economy of collecting tax in this manner most likely exceeds the amount collected for the following reasons:

1. The initial cost of the technology together with installation and maintenance.

2. The administration of the methods of payment and the legal disputes that are bound to arise.

3. The waste of time that adds to haulage transport costs and late appointments.

4. The removal of vehicles that refuse to start at the tolls.

5. The waste of fuel - stopping and accelerating away.

6. The cost of treating the effects of air pollution on the health or the local community.

MR D K BURROWS

DARTFORD

We must seek

alternatives

UNDOUBTEDLY the motorist has been conned and lied to yet again.

It seems okay for Gordon Brown to remove bridge tolls in Scotland but not this side of the border - I wonder why?

The pledge given over the Dartford tolls was quite clear and concise.

When the tunnel and bridge were paid for the tolls would cease.

Why am I, along with other road users, not surprised that this government have reneged on its promise?

This latest increase brings further discredit to an already discredited government.

If they can find sufficient billions to bail out incompetent banks they can afford to remove these tolls.

There is, I believe, an answer to this iniquitous situation and one which should contribute to removing the tolls.

Put simply, introduce a method of charging, namely road tolls, exclusively on European owned vehicles entering the UK. Either at the port of entry or by adding the toll to the fares which can be then passed on by the ferry companies and Eurotunnel, to the government.

Admittedly this 'toll' would have to be quite large, say in the region of £50+, but bears comparison with the cost of long haul return journey tolls charged in Europe.

This toll could then be put towards UK road maintenance and future road projects, thereby removing the Dartford crossing tolls. No doubt there are other alternatives available.

A EASTO

DARTFORD

Fiasco reminds me of Mad Hatter's Tea Party

THE increase is totally without any justification and will only cause more congestion and longer delays - which are already beyond belief - constantly appearing on all of the traffic reports.

The whole situation is a complete fiasco and reminds me of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.

Who makes the decisions?

Have they ever sat in their car waiting to pay the toll? The amount of wasted time, fuel and increase in frustration, apart from the overall effect on the environment, is beyond belief - clearly this is of no concern when the

opportunity of increasing revenue is so tempting.

It sadly boils down to the fact that the crossing is a big money making machine used by a captive audience and no other considerations, like the effect on the environment, will be listened to.

Abolish the tolls and help save the environment and improve the lives of all who live in the immediate area and of all those who need to use the M25.

The current situation is unbearable and with the 50 per cent increase it will became impossible. Woolwich Ferry here I come!

CLIVE EDWARDS

BY EMAIL

Dick Turpin

I FEEL the motorist is persecuted quite enough as it is and any new projects should be ultimately paid for out of the money already collected by the government.

What a shame no one seems to be able to stop this Highway Robbery.

Dick Turpin would have been proud of this government.

STEVEN GRADY

BY EMAIL

They're milking cash cow

I TEND to take the, perhaps cynical, view that in situations like this (e.g. London Congestion Charge) where there is a cash cow that's tethered (i.e. the motorist who has little or no other practical alternative) then the government will continue to milk it.

The amount of money involved is, for them, just too tempting to ignore.

I believe your newspaper should be pressuring for the complete abolition of the tolls, perhaps by phasing it in for cars first, then commercial vehicles later and or by extending the current free night time period for all traffic.

Anyway, please keep up the campaigning

STEPHEN IRONMONGER

DICKENS CLOSE

HARTLEY

Greedy

WHO are the greedy money suckers kidding?

Just keep dishing the dosh, never mind the queues.

If they really wanted a free flowing traffic situation, do away with the tolls altogether, as was promised upon the opening.

THOMAS CLARKE

CLIFTON ROAD

WELLING

Absurd queues

THE continuation of charges should have been challenged, perhaps in the High Court, when the tunnel was finished.

The money will go other parts of the country? We were told that it would be spent on local traffic schemes. But even this can be a scam - even if it is so spent, the authorities can then contribute that much less, and end up with an equivalent amount saved to spend on what they wish. The current scandalous queues are due to insufficient toll booths - more should be provided. If Le Tunnel won't do this, they should be compelled to allow the traffic through free and unhindered as soon as the queue length time exceeds a set length, say five minutes.

RON BINGHAM

BY EMAIL

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