I wrote on the subject of tolls before they were introduced and have now had first-hand experience.
Earlier in the month my wife and I flew to Porto where we collected a car and travelled down to the Algarve over a two-day period enjoying some of the sights en route.
Having used the A22 on Friday, I presented myself at Silves Post Office on Monday and after a 25 minute wait paid the toll.
During our stay we avoided using the A22 until we returned to Faro airport and I observed that the traffic on the road at 8.30 in the morning was significantly less than normal. There appears to be no facility for paying the €2 which remains on the car.
I have checked this with the website. I have every intention of paying the hire firm but if I said no, what would they do? Presumably pay it themselves. It seems hardly worthwhile taking action against a British resident for such a paltry sum.
I am not aware as to whether Portugal has the equivalent of our English Freedom of Information Act but I would love to know the following:
1. What was the cost of installing the gantries, the vehicle number recognition software, the signs and the additional cost of computer equipment in service stations, border points and other places not being post offices?
2. What is the running cost of the system, including any payment to the post office for administering the collection?
3. What would have been the cost of installing ticket booths and payment machines at either end or exit from a motorway?
I believe most foreign users would be happy to pay the tolls but there will be chaos in the summer when they do not bother with post offices. We use Portagem roads quite regularly and have no issues with that payment system.
We are now planning our next trip to Portugal in May which will involve taking the ferry and driving to our house in the Algarve. In this case, however, we will not be travelling down through Portugal but rather through Spain taking four nightly stays at various Paradors and using Spain’s free motorways.
The loss to the Portuguese economy will be approximately €1,000 (excluding diesel) whereas with properly administered tolls we would have stayed at Pousadas or other hotels. We are also planning our route so that we can possibly enter the country at a point where we can avoid SCUT roads.
LYELL W. FAIRLIE