PRESS RELEASE: ACFO Secures Dart Change Online Account Changes To Improve Administration For Fleets

Enhancements are being made to Dartford Crossing fleet accounts by Highways England to simplify administration following discussions with ACFO, the UK’s premier fleet decision-makers’ organisation.

Fleet managers have complained of a huge increase in administration following introduction in late 2014 of the “free flow” Dartford Crossing charging scheme.

ACFO has been in dialogue for many months with Highways England officials, which oversees Dart Charge on behalf of the government, and the first in a three-phase series of improvements to online fleet account administration has now been completed. Further enhancements are expected to be made in August and September.

Furthermore, Sarah Green, head of Dart Charge service, Highways England, is due to speak at ACFO’s autumn seminar on Thursday, 21 September. At the event delegates will be updated on Dart Charge and a range of other issues including developments in respect of charges for the two Severn Crossing bridges which are due to revert to central government control at the end of this year or in early 2018, and the proposed new £6 billion Lower Thames Crossing which will connect Essex and Kent east of Tilbury and Gravesend with the aim of reducing the traffic burden on the Dartford Crossing.

The first tranche of 17 changes to account features focus chiefly on the layout and information available relating to vehicles, crossings, payments and statements and an organisation’s account ‘home page’.

ACFO director Debbie Floyde, who has led the organisation’s discussions with Highways England, said: “ACFO has been working in conjunction with Highways England for several months to have the changes made for the benefit of Dart Charge account holders which will deliver increased administration efficiencies.”

Discussions started last year and Mrs Floyde said: “Highways England made it very clear that it was prepared to engage in conversation with ACFO. We are delighted that Highways England has listened to the concerns raised by ACFO members and taken measures to instigate change.

“We will remain in dialogue with Highways England and continue to welcome feedback from ACFO members on Dart Charge administration, including the changes made to online accounts.”

Mrs Floyde added: “The work undertaken by ACFO highlights that real progress can be made when fleet decision-makers join together and promote their legitimate concerns. Ultimately, ACFO and its members want exactly the same as Highways England: a highly efficient and effective Dart Charge online account system that is fast and accurate and requires little administration.”

The changes made in the first phase of enhancements are:

  • Pagination: For account holders, if there are more items in the current list than the selected page size (eg the account has 100 crossings, and the user has selected to display 20 items per page), pagination controls will be shown. The ‘first’ and’ previous’ page links won’t be shown on the first page, and the ‘next’ and ‘last’ page links won’t be shown on the last page.
  • Search VRM (vehicle registration mark):Functionality has been added so that when a VRM is selected from a list of automatically offered suggestions, clicking the ‘find’ button will display only the selected vehicle. Partial searches will also work - eg typing ‘A’ in the VRM search box and clicking ‘find’ will display only vehicles where the VRM starts with ‘A’.
  • View added date for VRMs: The date each vehicle was added to an account is also now displayed.
  • VRM table layout: Key data columns are sortable; the column name is now a link, and clicking it sorts the table by that column in ascending order. Clicking the same column name again will switch the sort order (eg if sorted by class ascending, sort by class descending and vice versa). Account vehicles are sorted by date added (descending) by default - ie newer vehicles shown first.
  • VRM download: The full list of vehicles can continue to be downloaded, but a ‘filtered’ list can also be downloaded.
  • Crossing history table format: Crossing date, time, VRM and direction are detailed.
  • Crossing history layout input: Key data columns are also sortable; the column name is now a link, and clicking it sorts the table by that column in ascending order (a visual indicator marks it as such). Clicking the same column name again switches the sort order (eg if sorted by ‘direction ascending’, sort by ‘direction descending’ and vice versa). Account crossings are sorted by crossing date (descending) by default - ie newer crossings shown first.
  • Crossing history download: full history can be downloaded as well as any ‘filtered’ history list.
  • Payment table format:Payment date, amount and reference number are now present in the payment history table.
  • Payment table layout input: Key data columns are sortable; the column name is now a link, and clicking it sorts the table by that column in ascending order (a visual indicator marks it as such). Clicking the same column name again switches the sort order (eg if sorted by ‘amount ascending’, sort by ‘amount descending’ and vice versa). Account payments are sorted by payment date (descending) by default - ie newer payments shown first.
  • Payment table filtering: Filters have been made available to show payments by date for a select range - ‘view all’, ‘last 30 days’, and ‘custom range’. Clearing of previous input is achieved by selecting a different date filtering option (such as ‘view all’).
  • Payment download: Full payment history can be downloaded as well as any ‘filtered’ history list.
  • Statement table layout input: Paging, sorting, and filtering has been implemented. Account statements are sorted by date descending by default - ie newer statements shown first.
  • Statement download: The ability to download statements without viewing first has been implemented. A download option has been added to the statement list alongside the current viewing option.
  • Date consistency: Dates in all four account listing pages (vehicles, crossings, payments and statements) and the related downloadable files are formatted as standard - ‘DD/MM/YYYY’.
  • Account home update: A top-up button has been added to the ‘home page’ showing the payment amount input field. Only payments of at least £10 are allowed. Clicking elsewhere on the page (above or below the top-up area) or navigating to an unrelated element using the keyboard automatically hides the payment amount input section until the button is clicked again.
  • Account home summary: On the ‘home page’ a ‘vehicles summary’ has been added which lists vehicles registered to the account. If there are less than five vehicles the VRM details are displayed otherwise the number of vehicles is shown instead. A ‘crossings summary’ has been added with the number of crossings made in the last 30 days shown on the ‘home page’. A ‘payments summary’ has been added; the last five payments are shown on the ‘home page’.

Further upcoming enhancements include: The ability to pay for crossings on a specific date which is not currently possible; the ability for fleets to associate an individual cost centre to each vehicle registration number; and the removal of the advance warning letter currently issued to first offenders, which has previously led to levels of confusion.