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Confusion, violence and vandalism over A22 tolls

By Sophie McCarrick [email protected]

Two incidents this week saw protests against the new Via do Infante (A22) tolls system, introduced on December 8, take a violent turn.

At approximately 8pm on Tuesday a Euroscut employee was injured when someone fired at his company vehicle.

Euroscut, the contractor that operates and maintains the A22, had sent the vehicle to provide assistance to a toll structure in the Algoz/Guia area, following reports that the surveillance facility there had been set alight.

According to Lusa News Agency, a shot was fired at the utility truck and the employee suffered injuries caused by the shattering of glass.

And in an earlier incident at around 2.40am on Monday morning, the toll gate of Boliqueime was vandalised.

A GNR spokesman told the Algarve Resident that several shots were fired at the licence plate reading cameras and a structure housing computer facilities was set alight.

Meanwhile, traffic congestion on sections of the EN125 has increased dramatically following the start of the tolls.

“What used to take me 30 minutes now takes up to an hour,” said Faith Borgan, who uses the road daily for travelling to work from Portimão to Albufeira.

I witnessed this congestion myself when travelling to Albufeira from Faro on Friday at around 5.30pm after attending a twice-delayed Via Verde press conference.

The EN125 was bumper to bumper for most of the journey, which took 55 minutes.

Via Verde, the entity responsible for managing the electronic tolls in Portugal, announced at the conference, which was attended by just two journalists, that no literature about the system is to be made available in English.

Instead, English-speaking residents will have to contact the Via Verde hotline on 707 500 900, where an employee will be able to assist them in English, said Franco Caruso of Via Verde.

He added that for those finding it difficult to locate a transponder for their car at CTT post offices, there are Via Verde stores based in Portimão (temporary), Faro and Tavira (temporary) plus they were available at MSCar and ACP, the Automobile Club of Portugal.

The Algarve Resident attempted to find out how many transponders are available at these locations on Wednesday.

However, when the Via Verde hotline number was answered, we were told that this information was not available.  

Franco Caruso confirmed that motorists will be charged a fee of 7.3 cents per kilometre, excluding tax, and that legally registered residents are entitled to 10 free trips per month and a further 15% discount on all other trips for a limited time.

“A trip may include all distance covered from the start to finish point of a journey, or defined by a provided amount of time allocated, which is still to be decided,” he added.

When asked to expand on this, he did not.

And foreign residents and tourists who use a rental car will also have to pay to use the A22 – but the way in which they do so “cannot be confirmed by me,” he said.

However, according to ET (Estradas de Portugal), owners of foreign registered vehicles have a variety of payment options available, dependent on the usage of the vehicle, i.e. an occasional short stay, frequent stays or a permanent stay.

For more information, please visit (available in English).

Armando Santana, president of the Association of Rent-a-Car in the Algarve (ARA) said: “Our customers have not stopped calling and we are having difficulty explaining the system.”

Approximately 20,000 fines throughout Portugal have already been given for non-payment of tolls by rent-a-car vehicles and anticipation now builds to see what impact this will have on the Algarve’s tourist industry, as renting a car is a crucial part of a visitor’s experience.

And an injunction filed by the protest group Portagens na A22 Não (No tolls on the A22) at the fiscal court of Loulé is still awaiting a verdict.