Stormont, seat of The Northern Ireland Parliament

Happy A22 driver

Dear Editor,

As a UK national, who is a Portuguese resident with a Portuguese registered car, I have bought the Via Verde electronic device to put in my car, paying €27 for the privilege, but that means that I will be able to have 10 free trips per month on the A22 until July.

Those free trips will probably repay the cost of the device.

Other advantages of buying the device are that I can drive through the Via Verde lane on the A2 and other Portuguese motorways, without stopping. I can also fill up at the Via Verde petrol pumps at some fuel stations, without going into the shop on the forecourt. I should also be able to pay automatically at Via Verde car parks in Lisbon and Porto.

If you are visiting and hiring a car, you will be expected to visit a Post Office or Pay Shop and pay the toll, by quoting your car’s registration number. You will be charged a 31 cent service charge for each trip.

However, the charge cannot be paid until 48 hours after your A22 trip, so if you are flying home, you will need to make other arrangements.

For example, ask a friend to pay two days after you have driven your last trip.

By the way, when I went to a local Post Office to pay someone else’s tolls this week, the Post Office official told me that if I was driving a British, French, Dutch or other non Portuguese car, I would not have to pay the tolls, as the number plate reading system would not recognise them.

That is the first time I have heard that, but I presume he knows what he is talking about.

I really enjoy driving on the A22 now, as it is really quiet. The only disadvantage is that some drivers have increased their speeds significantly, presumably because they see it as being an empty race track. So look out for reports of high speed crashes.