Highways England has awarded the first of its multi-package contracts for its second-generation free-flow charging service.
Consisting of three core packages, the first two contracts, worth up to a combined £270m over 10 and a half years, have been awarded to Conduent and emovis, who will primarily operate the existing Dartford Crossing free-flow charging scheme, Dart Charge.
Highways England (then Highways Agency) introduced a free-flow charging scheme for the first time on the strategic road network in England in 2014. Dart Charge removed the congestion caused by drivers having to stop at a barrier to pay their crossing charge, and has given road users using the crossing more choice about how and when they pay. Dart Charge customers can currently pay the road user charge online, by phone, and at many retail outlets, prior to or up to the day after using the crossing.
The second-generation free-flow contracts are as follows:
- Road user charging services. This package awarded to Conduent, covers the day to day operation of the free-flow charging service, detecting and matching vehicle and customer records, managing accounts and processing payments.
- UK enforcement services. Awarded to emovis, this package includes the management of enforcement activities for vehicles registered in the UK, such as issuing and handling penalty charge notices and payment processing.
- Non-UK enforcement services. This package includes the management of enforcement activities for vehicles registered outside of the UK, such as issuing and handling penalty charge notices and payment processing. Highways England intends to proceed to competition for this package later this year.
Non-UK enforcement services to support the second-generation service are set to be awarded in March 2022 following a competitive tender process.
Malcolm Dare, executive director of commercial and procurement at Highways England, said, “We are delighted to announce the awards of the first two contracts for the second generation of free flow charging at Dartford Crossing. The removal of the payment booths and introduction of free-flow charging at Dartford in 2014 not only helped to reduce congestion for the growing number of people using the crossing, it also provided much more flexibility for people to pay and we’re extremely excited to be working alongside Conduent and emovis as we move into the next phase of free flow charging at Dartford.”
Christian Barrientos, chief executive officer of emovis, commented, “The awarding of this contract to emovis reflects the Administration’s confidence on our expert ability to develop robust solutions designed with the end user in mind. Ensuring a high quality and standard of service for our clients and their customers, underpinned by our expert operational teams. We are pleased to have been selected to keep managing the scheme for Dartford Crossing, a vital component for the success of every free flow charging operation. We are also delighted to continue our longstanding relationship with Highways England”.
Mark Brewer, group president, transportation solutions at Conduent said, “This award demonstrates our commitment to our global strategy for growth while continuing to provide effective, end-to-end solutions for our clients. Building on our strong UK and European presence and capabilities, we are dedicated to delivering a successful programme for Highways England and its customers.”
(Picture – Highways England)