Travelling on tolled motorways in Portugal

This guide to the newly implemented tolls system on the previously free-for-users SCUT roads and other paid-for motorways in Portugal has been compiled by afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents association.

The system for charging tolls on SCUT motorways in Portugal came into force on October 15, 2010 and the next phase of charging will start next month, on April 15.

There is much confusion about how the tolls will be applied. This information is designed to help people to understand the system and answer questions or correct misinformation that exists. However, there are still some areas which are not completely clear and this document will be updated as more information is available.

Information contained here was taken from various sources, including Via Verde, Brisa and Estradas de Portugal.

TERMS USED:

•  SCUT – Sem Custos para Utilizador (cost-free for users)

•  DE – Dispositivo Electrónico (Electronic Device). This can be a DECP, DEM or DT

•  DECP – Dispositivo de uma Entidade de Cobrança de Portagens (Toll Charger Device). A Via Verde Identifier is one of these and will work with the electronic tolls.

•  DEM – Dispositivo Electrónico de Matrícula (Electronic Registration Device)

•  DT – Dispositivo Temporário (Temporary Device)

MOTORWAY SIGNS

Motorway toll sections will be clearly marked with signs at the start.

•  PORTAGEM ELECTRÓNICA – Electronic Tolls

•  PORTAGEM EXCLUSIVAMENTE ELECTRÓNICA – Exclusively Electronic Tolls

•  LANÇO COM PORTAGEM – Section With Toll Booths

•  LANÇO COM PORTAGEM ELECTRÓNICA- Section With Electronic Tolls Only

MOTORWAYS WITH VIA VERDE TOLL BOOTHS

There will be no change to these and you can continue to use the tolls with either the Via Verde Identifier or by pay as you go (PAYG) at the booths.

EXCLUSIVELY ELECTRONIC TOLLS

These motorways will only have the overhead gantry systems and will not have tolls booths or PAYG as exists with ‘Portagens’. The first of the SCUT motorways to be converted to this system were parts of the Greater Porto area, the Silver Coast and the Northern Coastal area.

The second phase of charging will begin on April 15 on the A22-Via do Infante (Algarve Motorway), North Interior and Beira.

Payment Options: There are essentially two options – Pre and Post Pay. Pre Pay is cheaper as there is no additional administration fee.

Prepay: If you have a DE then you will either pre-pay by loading an amount on to the account or you will be debited automatically from your bank account. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have already applied for your DE but have not received it, you will need to post pay until you receive it, but if you take the reference number of your application when you pay, you will not be charged the administration fee.

Postpay: If you do not have a DE then you are expected to go to a Pay Station or CTT within five days of using the motorway with your vehicle registration number and pay your tolls. An administration fee will also be added to the amount due. If it is not paid within five days then fines will also be added.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES (DE)

With the exception of Temporary Devices (DT) each device is registered to a particular vehicle registration number. They are not interchangeable without re-registering the device with the supplier. It is reported that electronic devices (DEs – either Via Verde or the ones for the SCUT tolls only) are available from all Post Offices, Via Verde offices and motorway service areas, as well as some banks. You can also apply for a Via Verde Identifier via the Via Verde website, but there is a backlog of applications. Via Verde Identifiers will also work on the SCUT motorways, but unfortunately not the other way around i.e. the DEM does not work on the Via Verde Tolls.

ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION DEVICE (DEM)

This is similar to the Via Verde Identifier, in that it is attached to the windscreen and not to the registration plate. Due to demand, stocks of these are apparently low at the moment.

TEMPORARY DEVICES (DT) FOR FOREIGN VEHICLES

These can be leased from motorway service stations or CTT/post offices. The price for the leasing is €27 and for the first week €6 + IVA and an extra €1.50+IVA for the following weeks is deducted from the price of purchase, the remaining amount is returned to you when you return the device.

When you first lease this device, you need to charge it with a minimum of €10 (light vehicles) or €20 (heavy vehicles). This credit is to be used on tolls and is non-reimbursable.

The DT is also available for Portuguese vehicles but the procedure is slightly different. For a Portuguese vehicle, the temporary device will last for 90 days, but the driver keeps the device and even after the initial 90 days are expired, when they top it up it reactivates the device.

DTs are not registered to a particular vehicle and are designed for short term use on the Portuguese toll motorways, which makes them ideal for foreign registered vehicles.

DISCOUNTS FOR LOCAL USERS

For the first phase (Silver Coast, Greater Porto and Northern Coastal area), anyone living in or having a business head office in a council area that is within 10kms of the motorway can claim the discount. This is the first 10 uses each month free, then a discount of 15% on other uses.

We understand that for the second phase, the discounts will apply within 20kms, but we will verify this as soon as we are able to do so.

The discounts will apply on all SCUT tolls until July 1, 2012 and will continue to apply in some regions after that time. If you think the discounts should apply to you then contact your Post Office (CTT) or Via Verde shop for more details.

FOREIGN REGISTERED VEHICLES

The government has taken notice of concerns and there is now a simpler option for Foreign Vehicles.

Drivers of vehicles without a DE (any type) can now pre-pay using just their Vehicle Registration Number. This can be done online at CTT.pt (you need to register and it is only in Portuguese at the moment).

Pre-payment will also be possible at motorway service areas and Porto Airport in the future.

If you do not have a DE or pre-payment then you will be subject to a fine. Photos are taken of registration plates and bills and fines will be sent to the registered address for the vehicle in whatever country the car is registered. Fines for foreign plated vehicles using the road without a DE are 10x the toll fee, with a minimum charge of €25 and a maximum of €125. The way to avoid this is to pay the toll directly to the “concessionário” of that motorway. At the entrance of the motorway, the name of the “concessionário” is displayed, but if you failed to notice it CTT post offices will be able to inform you of their contact details.

FAILED TO PAY FOR THE TOLL AT THE TIME?

Sometimes you can’t make the payment of the toll at the time of the journey, for example:

– You do not have your card with you and have no other means of payment;

– The system does not read the card;

– You don’t have enough money to pay;

If any of the above situations occurs in a toll booth where there is an assistant, you should ask for an invoice to be issued for payment later. If this situation occurs where there is a machine for you to insert the card and pay manually, you must use the “info” button to request the invoice.

In these cases, the value of the toll, without any penalty, must be paid within eight days counting from the date of issue, by using one of the following means:

– In a Multibanco (ATM) machine using the reference numbers in the invoice. This is only possible within 48 hours;

– In any Briza/Via Verde store;

– At the highway booths with an assistant.

You can also make your payment the following ways:

Sending a cheque to Brisa, payable to “Brisa – Concessão Rodoviária, SA” stating the invoice number on the back of the cheque.

Address to send the cheque: Brisa – Concessão Rodoviária, S.A. Serviço de Contas a Receber Quinta da Torre da Aguilha – Edifício Brisa 2785-599 São Domingos de Rana

Bank transfer – in this case please note that your invoice will only be considered settled after the proof of payment, properly identified including the invoice number to which it relates is sent, by post, fax (444 21 86 98) or email (clientes.drt@brisa.pt)

Banco Santander Totta NIB: 001800032357824802090 IBAN: PT50 001800032357824802090 Swift Code: TOTAPTPL Account holder: Brisa – Concessão Rodoviária, SA Factura nº. :

After eight days, if the invoice is not yet paid, the amount may be subject to penalties for non-compliance (Law No. 25/2006 of 30 June).

Please Note: Where invoices are filled out manually by the toll assistant, you must follow the instructions for payment mentioned on the back of the invoice. For more information about how to pay the toll you can contact the customer service line 808 508 508.

When you don’t have a toll ticket:

If a customer reaches a manual toll barrier without the transit ticket, or with an expired transit ticket (the validity of title is 12 hours), the toll rate applicable corresponds to the maximum rate* applicable to the toll barrier in question, multiplied by two.

Note: The maximum rate is deemed to be equivalent to the longest toll length than can be applied on that motorway before you reach the toll barrier in question.

If you don’t have the ticket at the time of passage but find it later, you will have the opportunity to prove which barrier you entered and pay the corresponding toll rate. For this, you must send a statement to Brisa, attaching the original ticket and explaining the situation.

Alternatively you may go to a Brisa or Via Verde shop, with the same information and pay the correct amount for your journey.

To contact afpop, please call 282 458 509 or visit www.afpop.com