Local people who regularly use the Dartford-Thurrock Crossing will receive an improved discount.
Under proposals announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin around 4,000 local residents, particularly those with privately owned vans, will benefit from the new way to pay.
From March 2014, people registered in the local resident discount scheme will be able to make unlimited trips over the crossing for just £20 a year. This option will also be open to local residents who privately own a two-axle vehicle, including vans.
It will only be possible to register one vehicle, a car or a van, per resident at each address.
McLoughlin said: “Local businessmen and women use the Dartford crossing regularly to make deliveries into Essex and Kent. They are the backbone of British industry and that is why I am keen to find new ways we can make their lives cheaper and easier.
“At a cost of just over 5p a day we will help thousands of small businesses keep their costs down as well as saving money for those who currently belong to the residents’ discount scheme.”
Motorists registered on the scheme will now only have to send in their vehicle documentation every two-years, rather than annually.
The existing scheme – which allows motorists to pay £10 for 50 trips a year and 20p for each crossing thereafter – will continue, and existing users of the scheme will be eligible for the new way to pay.
In addition to the changes to the residents scheme and as part of a package of measures to ease congestion and improve traffic flow at the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing, a new free-flow charging arrangement is due to be introduced during October 2014. This will see barriers removed and people able to pay before they cross, either online, by phone or at certain service areas.