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Readers back Reporter bid to stop the toll

PUBLISHED: 10:31 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 23 August 2010

Sheila Riddle

Sheila Riddle

SURVEYS conducted by the Times and Reporter have revealed that an overwhelming 98 per cent of residents back our campaign to scrap the controversial charges at the Dartford Crossing. One poll of 100 people from Gravesend on Monday showed that only two pe

Sukhbir Khalsa

SURVEYS conducted by the Times and Reporter have revealed that an overwhelming 98 per cent of residents back our campaign to scrap the controversial charges at the Dartford Crossing.

One poll of 100 people from Gravesend on Monday showed that only two per cent of residents were against the campaign, and thought a toll should remain at the crossing.

On Tuesday in Dartford, despite a discount scheme coming into effect, another poll showed 50 people out of 53 support scrapping the charges for a month.

Three said they did not drive and had no opinion.

Motorists and transport groups have reacted bitterly to increases of up to 50 per cent on November 15, and since we launched the campaign last week, we have been inundated with coupons registering readers' support.

Sukhbir Khalsa, 40, a shop keeper in Manor Road, Gravesend, said: "I use the crossing a lot to go and pick up stock for my shop.

"I think the toll should definitely go. Over the course of the year the cost is high, they are charging too much for it. Especially at the moment when everyone is struggling. Every

penny counts."

Dave Mills, 59, of Stonewood, Bean, said: "If it was free, traffic would be flowing - there will always be congestion, but much less."

Sheila Riddle, 62, of Darnely Road, Gravesend, said: "I can't believe it has gone up. I would support a stop in the toll. Hasn't it been paid for already? They always said they would get rid of it after it had paid for itself.

"We have to pay it, it is the only way across the river.

Michael Williams, 64, of Priory Hill, Dartford, said: "I think this is a marvellous chance to see what the effect would be. There would also be much less fumes in the town if vehicles didn't have to stop at toll booths."

Craig Stephens, 29, of Riverview Park, said: "I use that crossing nearly every day, and I can't see the point in it. Why do we need to keep forking out money for it? Its unfair to charge the motorists. We have to put up with the high cost of fuel and a toll to use a road. It should be stopped."

The Dartford Crossing takes in nearly £200,000 per day.

After the fare increases last week, the standard toll charge for cars has risen from £1 to £1.50 each way. Charges for light goods vehicles and HGV's have increased, meaning the government income per day is set to rise even further.

John Bruce, 74, of Sunninghill, Northfleet, said: "It is unfair that the people of Dartford get a reduced rate. I think people in Gravesend have to put up with the effect of that crossing as much as Dartford. It should be completely stopped."

Colin Purcell, 73, Valley Drive, Gravesend, retired, said: "They said it was going to be free once it was paid for and now they are actually putting the prices up. It must cost the people who have to go across it everyday for work a fortune."

Charges between 10pm and 6am have been scrapped. Dart Tag car users will pay £1 each way. Dartford residents can apply for 50 discounted journeys for £10 and pay 20p thereafter.

To show your support for our Stop The Toll campaign, sign our online petition at www.dartfordtimes.co.uk or www.gravesendreporter.co.uk or fill in our coupon and send it in to our offices at Unit 4, The Courtyard, 7A Manor Road, Gravesend, DA12 1AA.

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