Mayor calls for Dartford toll to be suspended during the Games
- Published on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 10:46
- Posted by Scott Buckler
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has written to the Government to suggest that the charge to use the Dartford Crossing be suspended during the 2012 Games
During the Olympics there will be considerable extra pressure on the capital’s transport network and the Dartford Crossing will be an obvious alternative for drivers to the Blackwall Tunnel. However the Mayor is concerned that a proposed increase to the toll could discourage drivers from using it.
The Government is consulting on changes to the charging regime at the Dartford Crossing. But the Mayor has written to the Government, alongside a formal response from Transport for London, to suggest that the proposed increase in toll at the very least be delayed until after the Games and at best be suspended throughout the Olympics.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “During the Olympic Games we are going to need businesses and Londoners to consider alternative ways of working or travelling. And heading for the Dartford Crossing will become a major consideration for drivers in the east of the city. That is why I have asked the Government to give serious thought to delaying their proposed increase or even better suspending the charge to use the Crossing during the Olympics. It would be a very considerate act that would be greatly appreciated during the Games.”
In his letter to the Government the Mayor also welcomed their proposal to suspend charging when long queues are experienced on the approaches to the crossing. But he suggested that the proposal be amended so that a suspension of the toll is triggered at a lower length of queue, in order to avoid frustrated motorists being tempted to divert towards the Blackwall Tunnel.
The Mayor also welcomed the Government’s desire to increase the capacity of the Dartford Crossing and he has told them that Transport for London would be keen to work with them to deliver a comprehensive package of improved Thames crossings within and around the capital.Detailed modelling has not yet been provided by the Department for Transport to show the exact impact on traffic flow if charges are increased at the Dartford Crossing. But Transport for London’s figures estimate that it could increase the flow of traffic through the Blackwall Tunnel at peak times by between three and eight per cent. For that reason the Mayor has made it clear that Transport for London would seek support from the Government to relieve the effect of that increase in the short term. However in the long term if higher revenues are brought in at Dartford then he has suggested they could also be used to help deliver new crossings within London.
The Mayor’s Transport Strategy already sets out the clear need for additional river crossings in east London and identifies a package of possible options to be considered. Transport for London have been asked to take forward that package of options and come forward with more detailed proposals as to how they could be delivered. The transport strategy suggests that river crossings in east London be improved by:
Maximising the benefits of the additional cross-river rail capacity being provided, including the Crossrail link to Abbey Wood.Enabling up to 2,500 people an hour to cross the river between the Greenwich peninsula and Royal Docks by using the new Emirates Air Line.
Developing plans for a new road crossing at Silvertown; andProviding a new crossing further east at Gallions Reach. That could be in the form of a new vehicle ferry as a replacement to the Woolwich ferry which would retain the longer term potential for a bridge in this location provided problems with previous proposals have been addressed.
Source: London Mayor