No Dart Charge Fines, Guaranteed – D1 Mille Miglia

We sign up for a free service which guarantees no fines at the new free-flow M25 Dartford Crossing.

Also, a quick overview of the route on day one of the Mille Miglia 2015. The Calais migrant crisis has reached boiling point again this week, this time at Eurotunnel.

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NO DART CHARGE FINES, GUARANTEED

Company offers free Dartford Crossing service with plenty of time to pay.

The Dartford Crossing. Photo @DriveEurope

The Dartford Crossing. Photo @DriveEurope

The introduction of free-flowing tolls on the M25 Dartford Crossing has not been without problems.

Last November, the toll booths were removed in favour of a number plate recognition system.

Exactly like the London Congestion Charge, drivers have until midnight the next day to pay the £2.50 fee.

Apart from the large number of foreign vehicles appearing to get away without paying – so far – there are numerous tales of users being double billed and/or fined even when they have paid.

Just yesterday, a driver was fined for the car on the back of his trailer.

We have had our own issues. Two weeks ago, nearly five months after the apparent offence – and long after our ‘unique reference number’ had been thrown away – we were sent a £70 fine despite having a bank statement showing the fee had been paid.

After several phone calls and an entire Saturday afternoon spent trying to prove our innocence we reluctantly accepted an ‘early amnesty’ offer to re-pay the original £5 charge.

Needless to say that offer will not be there forever. Naturally we were all ears when a company called DartSave contacted us to say they could guarantee we will never be fined again.

Admin manager Emma Westwood tells us, ‘Dartsave is a free to use service ensuring that our customers will never be fined for failing to pay in time when using the Dartford Crossing. It is a simple to use system, with online registration and account visibility. Once the account is activated and correct vehicle registrations are added we guarantee that our customers will never be fined.’

It works because DartSave has an account with Dart Charge and pays a reduced rate for each crossing, currently £1.67.

All drivers can register themselves with Dart Charge but it means putting down a minimum £10 deposit – lost if not used within a year – and keeping the account topped up. Failing to keep the account topped up means the account will be closed and in turn the user fined…

Meanwhile, DartSave pays the charge automatically and immediately emails the customer with 21 days to pay, more than enough time for most holidays and trips to the Continent.

It saves the hassle of remembering to pay and the expense of phoning Dart Charge, or logging on, from abroad.

Surely there’s a catch? Not that we can see. The registration is as simple as they say and aims to be complete within two working days. Whether it works as well in practice or not we shall find out shortly.

For more information see DartSave.co.uk.

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The Mille Miglia might be, ‘moving away from a hard core test for drivers prepared to suffer, and becoming more of a genteel event for those happy to cope with some challenges, but not too many’ - in the words of the Classic Car Trust - but driving a temperamental racer over long distances will never be an entirely relaxing affair, no matter how gentle the course. Today’s route takes the drivers 310km from the start in Brescia to Rimini on the east coast. It’s a relatively simple navigation, just six roads in total, starting along the southern shore of Lake Garda – with nasty road works at Peschiera del Garda – into Verona then cross-country to Ferrara, latterly along the River Po. The second half is a more-or-less straight run on SS16, again cross country, to the finish. See a map here. For more information see 100Miglia.it

The Mille Miglia might be, ‘moving away from a hard core test for drivers prepared to suffer, and becoming more of a genteel event for those happy to cope with some challenges, but not too many’ – in the words of the Classic Car Trust – but driving a temperamental racer over long distances will never be an entirely relaxing affair, no matter how gentle the course. Today’s route takes the drivers 310km from the start in Brescia to Rimini on the east coast. It’s a relatively simple navigation, just six roads in total, all on the flat, starting along the southern shore of Lake Garda – with nasty road works at Peschiera del Garda – into Verona then cross-country to Ferrara, latterly along the River Po. The second half is a more-or-less straight run on SS16, again cross country, to the finish. See a map here. For more information see 100Miglia.it. Graphic @MercedesBenz_IT

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roundup: MIGRANT CRISIS. Eurotunnel is calling on the authorities to do more to tackle increasing numbers of migrants massing around its French terminal says a report from the BBC’s @SimonJonesNews. Exactly as the company feared last year, recent investment in security at Calais seems to have shifted the problem further down the coast. A technical problem at Eurotunnel on Monday has seen delays build throughout the week with large groups of migrants attempting to board trucks. One regular said it was ‘the worst we have seen’. Eurotunnel has written to truck drivers saying terminal areas will be closed for parking up for the next three weeks as it tries to improve security. All vehicles will have to cross to the UK immediately.

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