It must be in the interests of government to do away with the Dartford Crossing Toll in its current form. The toll's impacts are directly contrary to the government's objectives in respect of
- reducing carbon emissions
- improving air quality
- lightening the load on business
- improving road safety.
Why does this idea matter?
The impact of the toll conflicts with government objectives in four ways.
Firstly, the enormous queues caused by the toll booths give rise to a vast and unnecessary amount of carbon emission. This is clearly contrary to the government's policies and international obligations on reducing carbon emissions.
Secondly, the queues cause serious harm to the surrounding environment and to air quality. This conflicts with the government's health objectives.
Thirdly, the tolls add outrageous amounts to the cost of business through delay. In order to collect £1.50, the real cost of the toll on business people who cost their time can be £100 or more for EACH CROSSING. This conflicts with the government's objectives to lighten the burden on business.
Fourthly, the tolls introduce a series of road safety hazards which include stop-go tailbacks requiring unexpected braking, lane swapping and erratic driving caused by drivers fishing for loose change. This conflicts with the govenment's objectives to make our roads safer.
For all these reasons the toll and the booths should go. If the authorities still need to raise revenue, there are much better solutions. If the congestion charge based on vehicle recognition can work in London, which is a much more complex traffic environment, there is no reason why a similar scheme cannot be devised for the Dartford Crossing