“The best things in life are free, but sooner or later the government will find a way to tax them.” Author unknown
The Algarve Resident newspaper last week described today as a ‘Dark Day for the Algarve’.
The forums have been red-hot for months debating this; the A22 has been brought to a standstill several times with demonstrations and protests; and someone even set fire to some of the support buildings for the new toll gantries in April this year.
But after protracted legal wrangling and numerous set-backs, the tolls on the A22 are due to start today.
Trying to find out exactly what this means and what you need to do in order to continue using the A22, has been an interesting challenge, and not something this blog is going to try to explain today – you could try the Algarve Resident for more information as a starter. Or this official web-site if you are feeling brave.
But I thought that today would be a good day to add some thoughts to the debate – I’m not a “nimby” and I am perfectly aware that we are in the midst of an almost global recession – and that Portugal requires a package of austerity measures. But I am still scratching my head in amazement over the nature of these tolls – and I genuinely cannot think of a single reason why this is a good idea for the people – and most importantly – the economic tourism – of the Algarve.
And here’s why:
- The system being introduced is ridiculously complicated. Motorists using the A22 in the Algarve will be charged electronically each time they pass a toll camera. This system involves a series of cameras placed along the motorway which will record all vehicles travelling the road. Residents must buy a transponder, at a cost of €27.50 which is fixed to the windscreen of the car behind the rear view mirror and sends a signal to the cameras. Travellers are charged 0.07 euro per kilometre, so travelling the 133km length of the A22 would cost €8.96; or €11.60 (depends which web-site you read today!) (Confused yet? – you will be!) And each gantry will have a different rate depending upon the distances between the junctions.
- After almost a year of legal issues and delays, and reports since April of the ‘impending arrival’ of the tolls – they are being brought in with ten days’ notice! It’s a great Christmas present for the Algarve – and the timescale hasn’t given much time for you to actually get it all sorted out before the tolls begin. There have been so many changes to the proposed system over the last few months – and a ‘will they – won’t they’ pantomime scenario has been played out – so I cannot imagine anyone has actually bought their transponder in advance. Why didn’t they at least wait until January 1st and give people time to get organised?
- The only alternative to the A22 is the EN125 – which has been regularly described as a “death trap”. The good news is that re-development works on the Algarve’s EN125 road should be finished by the second half of 2013, only three years behind schedule. On a good day, this road is full of idiots overtaking and forcing other cars onto the verge – goodness knows what it will be like when large lorries and coaches join the fray.
- Andalusian politicians and the Algarve Protest Group are planning to take the Portuguese government to the European Court over the legality of the tolls – if they do this the Court might suspend the tolls until a decision is reached – so even if they start today – how long will they last?!
- The cost of the transponders for car hire companies appears to be a worry for many. One company quoted that 3,000 cars would cost them an up-front fee of over €75,000 to bring them up to date – surely a cost that will have to be added to customer? And a lot of money for a company to suddenly find in these economic times. Other reports state that the companies are trying to reach an agreement with the government to pay a set fee every six months instead – presumably that will be added to the cost of hiring your car, even if you do not use the A22?
- For the holiday-maker arriving at Faro airport, this is going to be a major hassle. You don’t want any fuss after a flight; you just want to pick up the keys to your car rental and go. If you incur charges whilst you are on holiday, presumably the car hire company will charge your credit card (as you have to leave details of a credit card with them when you hire the car) once you are back home and you may not even realise it?
- If you have a foreign registered vehicle and you are not a resident you cannot buy a transponder, you can only rent one – the best advice I can get regarding this is that you have to rent a transponder from the Via Verde office in Faro (this is apparently the only venue in the Algarve where a transponder can be rented from for now). Payment is done via an international credit card. A deposit of €27.50 is payable and is refunded upon the return of the transponder. The rental period is for 90 days only, and should an extension be sought, the entire process will need to be repeated. In addition to the deposit, a weekly rental fee is also payable (€6 in the first week, and €1.50 in subsequent weeks). (Confused yet? – me too!)
- How can you chase unpaid fines on a foreign registered vehicle when some countries can have identical number plates – the only differentiation may well be the country’s 2 or 3 digit place code? And are they really going to chase foreign visitors for a small(ish) fine? The fines are supposed to be 10x the toll fee (minimum of €25) and I cannot actually find anywhere on the web which confirms whether the readers are actually set up to read foreign number plates.
- Charging tolls on all these roads is still forecast to represent a shortfall of at least around half a billion Euros a year, which will have to be covered by the taxpayer, so they are not even going to cover their costs very well by introducing these tolls. And it has also been rumoured that the cost of the tolls will rise by 4.36% on January 1st – so presumably all the signs displaying the cost of the tolls for each category of vehicle that have just been finished will have to be updated again in three weeks’ time… madness!
- We will have to wait and see how the tolls will impact upon tourism in the region, but the combination of a complicated system for a visitor and increased costs to local businesses – combined with the VAT increase to 23% from January for restaurants, bars and golf complexes (and others) is bound to affect local businesses; and be detrimental to advertising the Algarve as a holiday destination – especially when Spain on the surface will seem simpler and cheaper!
- The tolls are bound to affect ‘internal tourism’ as well – last week we spent a lovely day in Tavira – which for us on the motorway was about an hour’s drive away- which is manageable. The thought of having to go all that way on the EN125 and navigate Faro will certainly be a consideration for tourist and local alike – East of Faro may well become a foreign country to many!
- I’m no economist – so forgive me for stating what seems the obvious – but wouldn’t it have been simpler to just add 2 cents a litre (say) to petrol prices?
- If the A22 was constructed with EU Community funds – can it be legal to now charge for its use?
- Apparently motorists using the A22 motorway without the transponder can do so, but you will have a limited period in which to contact their nearest CTT post office where you can pay your debt. Once this period has elapsed, which is estimated by Via Verde to be five days, a letter will be sent to the address of the owner of the vehicle who, in addition to the cost of travelling on the motorway, will be liable for “administrative costs”. Even more confusing you cannot go to the post office until 48 hours have elapsed… (Confused again?) – Nothing like creating a simple system to confuse everyone.
- I hate to state the obvious here – but let’s imagine you are travelling around Europe, you arrive in Portugal and you either hire a transponder at Faro (or just drive the motorway without as in no 14 above) – and then you want to leave to cross into Spain to carry on your journey – how exactly will you be able to ‘pay your fine’ before you leave? (Oh, you can’t – because you’ll have driven the motorway towards Spain, and triggered a payment which can’t be paid for 48 hours – so you’ll have to come back 2 days later and drive the motorway back to Faro to pay the fine – Oh woops you’ve triggered it again – erm – does this sound like Groundhog Day?!) – Or you have hired a transponder and you have to take it back (to Faro – during office hours Monday to Friday….) what happens if you want to leave for Spain on a Sunday afternoon? Is there going to be a special booth at the border for you?! (Postscript – there is now ONE booth you can pay at the border … but nothing at the airport except a post office type booth open office hours!)
- Let’s also imagine that you are sent a fine for travelling the A22 – based on your number plate – but you honestly haven’t travelled the motorway… how can you legally challenge this? In the UK let’s say you are sent a fine for a speeding offence and you are adamant that it could not have been you driving – the court can ask for photographic evidence to be brought to prove the identity of the driver – just wondering whether the kit they are setting up on the A22 is able to do that? …
- With such a short timescale to implement this, it has been reported that two of Portimão’s three outlets for selling transponders sold out first thing Monday morning, with queues at the city’s third outlet stretching into the street; and supplies in post offices across the Algarve have been depleted. It doesn’t bode well for the future organisation and management of this system that the initial distribution has been so disorganised.
- If you ask six different people what documentation you actually need to provide to get a transponder – you will get six different answers. Registering for a device is possible online at the Via Verde web-site but it is currently only available in Portuguese and English speakers have to visit their local post office for assistance. Oh and today – the first day it is live – is a bank holiday – so the post office is shut!
- An interesting dilemma has been raised on forums as to who is actually legally – and morally – responsible for paying any fines – it would appear to be the proprietário – i.e. the ‘owner’ of a vehicle is responsible – which in the case of a hire car company means that if a driver incurs fines and then returns the car – it will be the company that gets fined and they will have to chase the payment back to the driver who hired the car… this is beginning to sound messy already – and that’s before the driver denies that they drove on the motorway?!
- You cannot ‘share’ a transponder across more than one vehicle – so you will have to purchase one for each vehicle you own. And according to recent web pages the computer system is already over-loaded and it can take up to 30 minutes to register a car at the post office. That’s a long queue!
- Even the concessions for locals are complicated – try this one for size: ‘For a limited period of time, legally registered residents will be exempt from charges for the first 10 transactions per month, after which there will be a 15% reduction in fees for each transaction. It is understood that the exemptions and discounts for legally registered residents will be in effect until June 30, 2012, after which they will only apply to areas which have a GDP per capita of less than 80% of the national average’. Clear as mud that one – best hope you don’t live somewhere posh then!
- You can only qualify for the concessions for local residents if your vehicle Registration Certificate indicates that you reside in an area within the allocated distance of the motorway. If you have purchased your car with a bank loan the address on your certificate will probably be your bank’s head office in Lisbon – so you will need a letter from your bank confirming your address – ho hum – more bureaucracy and delays!
It’s not so much the tolls themselves that are annoying – it’s the system they are implementing which is at best confusing – and at worst, downright infuriating to try to comprehend, particularly if you are a tourist and visitor to the region. Surely there had to be a simpler system that could have been introduced – or a simpler way of collecting extra revenue.
And to add the icing on the cake – the tolls are introduced today on the bank holiday for the ‘Immaculate Conception’ – you couldn’t make it up!
I would love to hear your views on this controversial topic. Should we have tolls on the A22? And is there a simpler way of raising this revenue? How would you have designed the tolls? And will you still use the A22 – and visit the Algarve?
I have been contacted by a lot of people asking how they can try to sort their toll charges out once they have left the country – or given up queuing at the post office …. the Algarve Resident newspaper this week published the following name and email you can use to contact the company that manages the tolls – you can email them in English:
let me know if this helps!
The Portugal News
The newspaper now has an excellent summary of what you need to do – and how to do it – on their website – click here to find out more information.
It’s a mess, isn’t it?
I’m not against the tolls themselves, it’s the method of collection that irks me.
OK, so we are residents, with a VV box and, if we need to use it, we’ll use it and pay. Such is life.
BUT, I do think there should have been a cash system (even if only change buckets or whatever) in place for vehicles without electronic devices, particularly visitors/tourists who are the ones who are worst hit by this scheme (not financially, necessarily, but from an “ease of use” point of view)
Talk about alienating your main source of income, eh?
thanks Tracey – you are so right! I am sure when we last went to Lisbon we could pay cash at the toll – perhaps someone up there can correct me if that’s not the case?
but it would make life so much easier – and they could employ people as well to work in the toll booths then to collect the money…
I reserved a car under Reservation # …. from a well known rental company at Lisbon Airport from 18-28 June, 2013. My plane departed from Lisbon for canada on 28 June.
I paid for one A22 toll in Tavira on 26 June at the Post Office for 7.44 Euros. it was easy- if a little odd that one must go to an office in the modern world to pay a bill.
To go from Tavira to Lisbon on 27 June, we used the A22 toll road again. I was told at the rental company office to try to pay at the airport when they took me by shuttle on 28 June but that since it was less than 48 hours, I would be told how to pay if th ecost did not register yet. This was less than 48 hours since usage, so nothing showed at the Post Office. The postal employee said he could do nothing. In fact, he barely looked up to state that since it was not my car, why did I care?
When I got to Canada on 29 June, I went on the Portuguese Post Office web site but could find what I owe nor can one pay by VISA card anyway.
I called the rental company at Lisbon airport and received the Customer Service and general information number. I sent them this letter.
All I want to do is pay what I owe. Someone at the Post Office must realize that people do drop cars at the Airport and then leave Portugal. It seems odd that the normal answer to the question of how can I pay is, “Go to the Post Office”. Dealing with my rental company has been amazing- this is my third rental in Europe in 4 years and everything has always gone perfectly- until the A22 enters the situation. Spain, germany- all good. Portugal- not so good for drivers.
I am willing to pay- in fact, I paid for the first usage already (Receipt # ……….) and just want to get this small bill paid now. The Post Office certainly does not make life easier for rental companies, nor for the customer. The 48 hour time lag is also difficult to work with. Please advise the Post Office that there are computers which might be able to do the work?????. Has anyone at the Portugal Post Office heard of VISA, which allows a person to pay bills from afar? I have paid bills in Vietnam, Bolivia, … with VISA- why not at Portugal’s Post Office web site?
Please tell me how I can get my bill paid- easily and without incurring extra fees. It seems that one can only live with the A22 problem by moving permanently to Portugal , or not renting for at least 2 days before leaving the country.
Stephen from Canada
thanks Stephen for sharing your story and highlighting this ongoing problem – the latest news appears to be that this system is losing the country so much money that they are planning to change the system – who knows what scheme they will think of next!
I’m sorry – I wish I could answer your questions for you and help you – I know that some hire car companies are now taking a pre-payment amount from customers of about 25 euros to pay for any toll fees incurred – but I cannot comment on individual cases or companies I am afraid.
I do hope that you manage to sort it out though – and if you do – please add another comment on the blog so that others can be helped too
I had to laugh! How could they implement this system in 3 weeks and start on a public holiday, no less? Typical bureaucracy too with the confusing system of payment at the Post office 2 days later, as you say, what will visitors do if they leave before those 48 hours? Surely the best way would be to have cash/atm booths like they have on the Lisbon highways. A couple more people employed and less hassle for all! A lot of people will either stop visiting the Algarve or just use the National roads, less revenue and more chaos, what a pity!
Sami – I am glad you find it confusing too – and still able to laugh at how ridiculous it all seems to be. I had a wry smile as I posted this today..
sadly I think you are right that it will just cause more chaos – and I have already read on some forums that people are already deciding not to come to the Algarve next summer for their holidays because of the complicated tolls – how sad.
What a shambles! Thank you for this- it must’ve taken forever to get your head round it all. I’ve very much sat on the sidelines, sort of hoping it wouldn’t happen, but there can never have been a more classic case of “biting the hand that feeds you” can there? Surely the motorway was put there in the first place to encourage and enable tourism!
This perfectly thought out system will surely self destruct, won’t it, but at what cost?
Now that steam is rising from my ears (welcome really as it’s rather cool in England just now) I will turn to happier thoughts. Hope you enjoyed your (last) visit to Tavira? I just posted this yesterday- a much more frivolous but very enjoyable use of my time. http://restlessjo.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/talking-about-tavira/
thanks Jo – I have to admit I am not sure I have got my head round it all yet! 😦
I loved the A22 – it was always a nice clean spacious and mostly empty motorway and a nice easy run for us from the airport.. it will be interesting to see how busy it is now?!
Thanks for your Tavira post – we took some nice shots whilst we were there – so expect a post at some point! we can compare notes!
The powers that be are totally clueless! this is a brilliant list…
All they are interested in is fines and taxes. The powers that be are killing the economy – I feel so sorry for Portuguese who run a business which relies on tourists in the Algarve. After the VAT hikes we certainly will NOT be eating out anymore; there is only so much money in the Pot and luxuries like meals out will be the first to go.
I’m probably not alone.
I can only agree with your comments here – it will be sad to see even more restaurants and businesses closing as I am sure they will.
You are definitely not alone re not eating out – it’s a real luxury for us now!
It’s a shame they didn’t learn anything after the shambolic introduction of these cashless tolls up north several months ago. The same story of post offices selling out and massive queues – it saddens me that they weren’t any better prepared this time around.
We only use cashless tolls routes occasionally at the moment so haven’t gone to the trouble of getting a transponder but will have to get one sooner or later. I almost forgot to go to the post office last time and since it’s a 15 minute drive to our nearest one, it costs even more time and money to pay these ruddy fees.
Another point to add to your list is residents who don’t have a device but drive to the airport for a week’s holiday. It’s impossible to pay the toll within the 5-day period!
It’s all maddeningly stupid, especially if you’re right about the prices going up and the signs having to be changed.
Thank goodness we managed our last couple of trips on the A22 and A23 before this nonsense started.
thanks for your comments – I hadn’t thought of the residents going to the airport and leaving their car there to go on holiday – good point!
I think there will be even more flaws in the system that we haven’t even thought of yet – no doubt they will come to light once it all gets going!
We can only watch and see what happens…. but it’s not good news for the tourist driven Algarve economy…
Good blog one or two facts need correcting. as far as I can tell the “operator” on the Algarve is not Via Verde but another entity however transponders will work for both. VV do have two transponders that are not linked to Reg No’s. One for motor traders and one for tourists. I think Via Verde transponders will also work in Spain and France so that seems to be the type to go for.
There is a temporary booth at the border bridge on the west bound side for info, transponders and payments. This section is not motorway so you can cross on foot and by car, you can also do a “U” turn which we often see the police and border force do. incidently it is legal to walk across the bridge.
thanks very much for your input John – I haven’t put this out as a ‘definitive guide’ – perish the thought! and your corrections are most welcome
I guess one day it will all make sense to us all – for now I’m off to put the kettle on! 😉
Buying a microlight aircraft is becoming more and more attractive these days!
I’m sure there’s a way to tax those mid-flight – it’s just that no-one has thought of it yet…oh hang on – Dastardly and Mutley??!!!!!! 😉
I’m certain this has been proposed at some time or other, but hey, I’ll say it again. If everything is tied to the registration of the vehicle, why not set up a system that allows residents to pre-pay, either at the post office or on line, and then run down that balance as required?
If the government can’t figure out how that would work, maybe Vodafone or TMN etc could explain pre-pay to them…
yes I am sure there has to be a much simpler and easier system than what we now have – for tourists and visitors surely there has to be a better way of organising this?!
and presumably we could then also pre-pay via a mobile phone or cash point too?! If the car had a ‘reader’machine and you just inserted a pre-paid ‘credit card’ – then hire companies would be sorted out too …
I still think that adding cents onto a litre of petrol if they wanted to create revenue has to be simpler?
The introduction of tolls on Scut impaired drivers, who have to pay what was free before, but was equally ruinous to the Portugueses Governement.
Before, the Governement owed the utility 178 million euros. Now, the public enterprise “Estradas de Portugal”l was committed to a debt exceeding 10 billion euros. With the renegotiation of contracts to introduce tolls, the roads were 58 times more expensive!!!
I hardly recomend you to read and vew:
thanks for your comments and the link
The Algarve Resident newspaper (5th Jan) reports that a new petition has been launched – and worryingly “Business owners in Vila Real de Santo António, who rely heavily on Spanish customers, say they have registered a loss in trade of 80% due to the tolls”
I am sure this is not over yet!
So, if the Portuguese Governement is paying five times more for the SCUTS, because of this ridiculous and complicated system of purchase, if drivers are paying to use a road that was free before, if this is bringing chaos to the EN125 and loss of business in the Algarve region, why do they put the tolls?, To whom is the benefit? For those who signed this ruinous contract to the portuguese tax payers! – the previous government and the utilities (such as Mota Engil, Euroscut, etc)…Someone is making big money with this business!!!
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We came across these tolls when they were introduced in central Portugal in 2010, just as complicated as the system for A22. Tried desperately to pay, but still waiting for reply to my emails asking how I was to pay.We used the toll roads briefly but nobody has ever followed up with a request for payment. What I can’t understand is why nobody learned any lessons from this first toll road. There are lots of schemes around Europe these days that work- who sold this pup to the politicians? I love Portugal and am happy to do my bit by paying to use the road but they haven’t made it easy.
thanks for your comment – it does seem ridiculously complicated doesn’t it!
My fear is that it will put tourists off visiting the region – crazy in the current financial climate.
So if i use the a22 on arrival from uk via the Airport,drive to Alvor, I then have to wait 48 hours,go to the PO and pay.Ok I understand that.But what happens when returning to the Airport to fly home.How do I pay after 48 hours in the UK?!!
Hi Paul – I have no idea what the answer to this is! there is supposed to be a scheme being set up with hire car companies so that they can ‘take’ the fees off your credit card after you have returned the car…. not sure how this will work in practice though – best to check with your hire company before your holiday!?
Car hire company say “don’t know”!!
sorry Paul – I’m none the wiser! this is the most recent article i can find – http://www.algarveresident.com/44307-0/algarve/new-rental-car-system-for-tolls-due-this-month
You might also find these readers’ letters to the paper an interesting read!
Oh dear! 😦
Thanks for that,looks like it will be like old times,the 125 in the dark and dodging the idiots trying to kill me! At least there are no donkey carts anymore -pity!
ah but there are plenty of gypsies with horse and carts to contend with!
have to say – so far unless you are trying to get through Faro in rush hour we haven’t found the 125 too bad – but then again it’s not summer yet 😦
Coming out in May,is that little fish restaurant still in Ferragudo,like to think we discovered it in 1970! but you had to like clams!
it might be – can you remember what it was called or where it was?! there are a lot of different restaurants out here now …. but some have been here for a long while!
Have just returned from the Algarve. Wasn’t informed when I collected my hire car at Faro about the A22 tolls! When I returned my car I saw a notice. I wanted to pay and was told I was too late for the previous weeks fees as you have to pay within 5 days! Stuffed. I then asked to pay for the journey I had just made. Told to pay at Post Office in airport. When I reached the post office at 3:20pm it was closed!!!
Can you advise if I can pay on line, even though I’m back in England. What a shambles! I’ve been going to the Algarve for years, and I’m now back from my holiday more stressed than when I went!
I’m sorry John – there are so many stories like yours in the paper every week
I do not know the answer for you – I am pretty sure you can only ‘pre-pay’ online
the hire car companies – at best- seem to be elusive over this – and hire cars appear to just be racking up tolls for the next unsuspecting hirer in the future to have to pay…
you should check your hire car agreement though – as I think the company has a rider in there about reclaiming unpaid fines etc …. although how they would actually do that is a mystery to me as they do not seem keen to check registration numbers or transponders with the post office?
For the first time this week the government have reported that the tolls could be flawed !! here’s the article
Other than contacting your hire car company I am not sure what else you can do – sorry to he unhelpful – you are certainly not alone in trying to sort out this problem – and I am sorry it left you so stressed.
Portugal is a beautiful country – this debacle is certainly not going to help our tourism – lets hope it is sorted before the summer descends upon us!
Not that this will be of any help to John – or others that have already struggled to pay their tolls – but this was posted today from the Portugal News
A22 Tolls – if you’re a visitor or know a visitor please read this!
Monitoring reader’s feedback, as we do, it becomes clear that people don’t mind paying the tolls, they do object to the ridiculous and time consuming method of paying afterwards in a post office. However, there is an option which has received little publicity. If you have a foreign registered car, this is a viable and much simpler option. You can purchase a pre paid pass, valid for 3 or 5 days from any Post Office. You will need to give them your car registration number. You get a receipt which you should keep. The cost (for a light vehicle) is Euros 20 for 3 days unlimited use, no transponder. You can only buy 6 of these passes a year. Option 2 is a 5 day pass (for a light vehicle). For this you pay by credit card, and you get a pre paid credit of Euros 10, if you don’t use it all you can request a refund. If you use more it’s simply charged to your credit card. You can also pre paid pass for a specific route on a specific day, Faro Airport via the A22 or Porto Airport via the A28 or A41. These are valid for a one day single or return journey. Supposedly you can do this online with a credit card (in English) at the link beneath, but this is not yet operational. This wont be the answer for everyone, but it’s a practical option for a lot of visitors with a foreign registered car.
However … words still fail me … so you can come into Portugal with a foreign registered car – and go to a post office to buy a pass … but that still requires you to not go on the motorway until you’ve bought a pass….. so the VRSA junction at the start of the A22 is still going to be busy with foreign cars diving off onto the N125 …. ho hum
Still confused! headline in the Portugal News today – Debit card road-toll payments coming for foreigners –
here’s the link – good luck trying to make sense of it all everyone
makes zero sense whatsoever!
“The system links up the car’s registration number with the debit card’s bank account ”
Err…how? Rubbish IMO!
yep! that’s pretty much what I thought too!? unless they mean that you can now drive up to a booth and pay with a card…. it reads your number plate, takes your money … and then ‘cancels’ that number plate’s ‘debt’ … oh no hang on a minute … their system takes 4 days to send the number plate info to the computer system for it to know how much you owe them …. perhaps it just records an ‘IOU’ on your card?!!
This system has degenerated into a total farce now – and it was pretty bad at the start!
If everyone obeys these laws they become the law. If everybody refuses to, it will be difficult to enforce. The point of this is that laws can only be enforced with the general publics acceptance no matter how much their dislike or reluctance to accept them
there are still many protests that take place at regular intervals – and the local papers out here seem to add more comments and letters every week from disgruntled motorists … but the government seem to be ignoring all of this!
Anyone know the answer to the question asked here- ie how do you make the payment 48 hours after using the road if you’re only in the country for a weekend?
The Portugal News have just updated their information in the last 2 weeks – there are now two more options (is everyone keeping up with this!??!!) – info from this link reproduced here:
The new system features two methods of payment called ‘Easy Toll’ and ‘Toll Card’, developed by the national road company Estradas de Portugal in cooperation with the CTT postal service and electronic payment company UNICRE.
Easy Toll is available at border crossings into Portugal featuring or near a former SCUT motorway; Vila Formoso (A25), Vila Real de Santo António (A22), Chaves (A24) and Vila Nova de Cerveira (EN13). Machines have been installed for users to pay tolls and staff are available to provide information.
The Easy Toll system enables drivers of foreign registered vehicles to associate their number plate to a bank card for a period of up to one month, with toll charges being debited directly from their account.
Toll Card meanwhile is a method whereby users can buy a card that is prepaid with five, ten, 20 or 40 euros, and can be activated and linked to a vehicle licence number by sending a text message.
Toll cards can be bought online, at post offices and motorway services stations.
~Hope that helps?! (But it won’t help if you have already travelled the road and now want to pay – still don’t know the answer to that one other than emailing them – see a previous comment)
And what happens if you just dont pay and live in another country?
I´ve just gone through from one end to another and back again, like I´ve done so many times before. I live in Spain and had absolutely no idea about what this was. I though that since there werent any “stands” as on pay motorways in Spain and France, it would be for residents only…..
Good question! the Portugal News seems to have the best summary here http://www.theportugalnews.com/a22-algarve-tolls-what-you-need-to-know
But I love the idea of ‘wait until we write to you’ !!!! mmmm! that sounds ominous ?!?
Ok… I will wait and see what happens. I´m pretty good at that. Most sincerely, I didnt know that I had to pay and I´ve never seen a system like that before in my life. I´ve gone from Huelva (Spain) to the West coast of Algarve many times and didnt think that I had pay.
I can understand your frustration and confusion! this continues to be a nightmare for tourists and holidaymakers – and locals too! Even the sign on the approach sliproad to the A22 is confusing – it looks more like a speed camera warning sign than a toll road – it doesn’t even say ‘TOLL’ – not good!
let me know if they ever write to you – I presume you have a Spanish numberplate – it will be interesting to hear if they ever chase up foreign registered vehicles?
I will reply if I get a letter. I´m running a Spanish registered van. And I agree that when you enter Portugal, its not clear what they want you to do.
Interesting, on the total of some 270 km. I saw 1 truck and very few cars…………. This must end up being a nightmare on other roads.
In my case it just means no more driving on the A22. And maybe no more going to Algarve west coast. I´m not going to drive on a country road through the totally over populated Algarve.
the N125 is certainly a lot busier! and it is definitely slower too 😦
I used the Faro -Lagos toll road early sept 2012 on a monday and returned the following Friday using a hire car. I then travelled to Lisbon by bus and on Monday a.m and p.m. went to post offices to pay my tolls. They had no record of the car reg which I used and nothing on the system. So having tried to pay and even checking with their website since, finding no information, what am I to do? Await a fine or just ignore the shambolic Portugese toll system?
It’s not working as a system is it!?! the link in the comments above to the Portugal News website gives some advice – but I’m sorry this blog cannot help you solve the problem – but do let me know if you manage to sort this one out?! and sorry that it has been such a nightmare for you
Just an update.
Now 5 month later, I havent received anything from the Portugeese authorities
which hopefully means …. that you are ok>?! but …. knowing how long some things take in Portugal?!??!
All very interesting. I’ve been scanning the net for info on this ridiculous subject. I think I agree with the author…raise petrol prices or fuel taxes by a little bit, rather than ALL this absurd “tontaria” (nonsense).
I am a Brit, living in Huelva, Spain, just a little over the border to Portugal and the Algarve. Many people I’ve spoken to here, don’t go to the south of Portugal anymore because of the tolls, or prefer to take the first exit off the A22 to avoid tolls.
Others I’ve spoken to have made several journeys to Sagres and back to Huelva again (Spanish reg cars) without paying tolls and have not received fines.
What a joke of a system.
you are so right! sadly the latest news is that the Government have apparently agreed that the tolls are not working – so – wait for it – rather than scrap them – they are going to bring a new – different system in ……….. words fail me!
thanks for visiting the blog and commenting
So when are they going to make this new system. The problem with raising petrol prices is that petrol is already very expensive in Portugal.
Keep this thread running. Its nice to be updated. I havent received any fine for the journey I did 13 month ago.
Oh I have no idea when the ‘new’ system will come into play!!
you can try this for a link for more info: http://algarvedailynews.com/news/10833-government-tolls-idiocy-continues
it’s a disaster zone for sure!
Car for Hire from Lisbon is easy to get but those tolls and all just gives me a headache. But still I love to visit Lisbon great place to get relaxed.
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We are international travellers who hired a car in France and came to Portugal. The toll website was so confusing that even Portuguese friends could not understand it. We thought we could travel and then pay afterwards, only to find on arrival that we cannot as we do not have Portuguese registration.
Now we are travelling again (for one day only) so have to buy a 3 day card. On top of that the local CTT in Lagos had none left.
I wish we could be more helpful! there is an information point as you enter Portugal … and I believe you can now buy a pre-payment card with a credit card … but this system was flawed from the start and has never recovered!
I went with foreign number plates and didn’t pay not did I get a bill – last visit was 2013 and I am waiting to hear if I can visit again or do I have to just avoid the A22?
we have no idea! we have heard both stories – no payment and no fines .. and no payment and a huge fine months later! It is always going to be a gamble some people are willing to take