Tolls – a bleak future

Dear Editor,

I read your article in the UK regarding the implementation of tolls on the A22 (Algarve Resident, December 2 edition).

My wife and I will be motoring to the Algarve in time for Christmas and had been planning to enter Portugal at Guarda.

However, we have yet to locate a countrywide internet map that simply outlines which motorways will have the usual manned booths and which ones will be unmanned.

Even if we find this information, I cannot see how we can get a transponder before entering the country.

It is therefore likely that we will have to travel to Badajoz on the mainly free motorways of Spain and take a mix of A roads and manned Portuguese motorways from there.

The end result is that we will not be using Portuguese businesses – petrol stations/ motorway cafes/  hotels and we will benefit not only from the free motorways in Spain but also the much cheaper petrol.

Whereas I understand the desperation of the Portuguese government to increase revenues, the way they are going about the introduction of electronic tolls is going to kill off the foreign car tourist unless the system is made more user-friendly before next summer.

Also if IVA goes up to 23% in restaurants to match the new rate on golfing, then revenue gains will be more than offset by the significant reduction in general tourism, who will divert to Spain with 8% tax in restaurants, for the cheaper holiday and the hassle free motorways.

I believe about 34% of tourists to the Algarve are British, who will shortly be making their decisions on 2012 holidays.

It will be interesting but sad to see how much the Algarve loses and how much Spain gains as a result of the actions of the government.

And indeed how many Spanish decide to stay in their own country for holidays rather than Portugal. I cannot see other nationalities filling the tourist void in the present economic conditions.


Editor’s note: Dear Peter, thank you for your comments. I suggest you visit the Via Verde and Brisa websites, both available in English, for information regarding the motorways and toll systems in Portugal (www.viaverde.pt and www.brisa.pt) The CTT (Post Office) website www.ctt.pt also contains a lot of information about the tolls but, at the time of going to press, its English version was ‘under construction’.

Dear Editor,

I do not know who planned and organised the system of tolls for the A22, if  ‘planned and organised’ are two words which can be used in this context, but suffice it to say I would not trust these people to organise the proverbial ‘booze up in a brewery’.