Portugal Electronic Tolls
Implementation of the electronic motorway toll system in Portugal from late 2011 has not been smooth, but there is a website explaining the various ways in which visiting foreign motorists can make motorway toll payments in Portugal.
One of the methods described must be adopted on those Portuguese motorways that are using the new electronic system, as there are no longer any traditional toll booths on these roads. The Portugal Tolls website includes:
- a concise description of how the system works;
- a toll calculator for your planned journey;
- maps showing rates for each stretch of motorway;
- how to pay;
- EasyToll Services, where you can update the details of your toll account if necessary;
- Frequently Asked Questions;
- and contacts.
How to pay?
The simplest way to pay is to check on the website how much you need to pay, and then buy pre-paid cards for that amount, each with a unique code under a scratch box on the front, available at service stations in Portugal. You then simply follow the instructions (in English) on the back of the card to text your vehicle details to the tolls organisation. A text message comes back almost immediately confirming the purchase, and you can check on the website as to how much remains on the account, which is normally valid for 30 days.
For more details visit the Tollcard website.
There remains some legitimate frustration among both locals and tourists in Portugal, as the electronic toll system is still imperfect. However, beware exaggerated reports, particularly on some internet forums and other websites, of chaos on the roads of Portugal, which are unrepresentative of the true situation on the ground.
The internet is full of information, of widely varying quality and reliability, but the best advice on the safety of travel abroad is from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advisory service, which is always careful to give a measured and balanced assessment of any risks involved. We have received no reports from the FCO of any safety issues raised by motorway tolls in Portugal.
While the Portuguese authorities continue to try to make the electronic toll system more consistent, reliable and user-friendly, there are still difficulties with it, but these should not be cause for undue concern, and certainly do not discourage large numbers of members from visiting the Algarve each winter.
We recommend that you check our website for any updates on the subject of motorway tolls before you travel to Portugal.
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