A NEW Dartford Crossing discount scheme, which could save Thurrock residents hundreds of pounds, comes into force on Saturday.

The scheme will enable people living in the borough and who privately own a car or a van to make an unlimited number of trips over the crossing for just £20 per year.

Currently, residents on the scheme pay £10 for 50 trips a year and 20p for each crossing thereafter. That will continue for anyone expecting to make less than 100 trips per year.

But for frequent users, the new scheme offers more value for money.

Patrick McLoughlin, the government’s Transport Secretary announced the changes to the Local Residents’ Discount Scheme in September last year.

Residents can apply for the discount by completing the Local Residents’ Discount Scheme application form which is available on the DART-Tag website or at the crossing offices, located just before the tunnel at junction 1A in South Orbital Road.

Proof of vehicle ownership and that the owner lives in Thurrock or Dartford are needed.

Anyone not eligible for the residents’ discount scheme can apply to join the standard DART-Tag scheme and receive discounts every time they use the crossing.

The move comes ahead of the introduction of free-flow tolling at the crossing in October 2014. Once that system is in place, the standard cost of using the crossing will increase from £2 to £2.50.