Why are there toll booths in India?

Tolls in Europe: an overview

The German plans provide for tolls to be levied on foreigners on the autobahn. Since European law forbids discrimination against non-locals, it is therefore questionable whether the draft can actually be implemented. And that's exactly why our European neighbors almost always ask everyone to pay. These include:

  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • France
  • Hungary
  • Spain
  • Slovenia
  • Czech Republic

Germany, on the other hand, joins the small group of nations without a car toll. These include Luxembourg, Belgium, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands. However, there are differences from country to country when it comes to tolls: Often only a few specific roads or route sections are chargeable. Payment is possible at many toll stations, petrol stations and customer offices by EC or credit card. In Italy, France and Spain there is also the option of paying the toll electronically using a toll box.

Tolls in Europe

The toll is used to finance the maintenance of the road infrastructure, i.e. the construction and operating costs. It offers an additional source of income for the state and thus supports the public budget. In addition, the toll is also expected to have a certain deterrent effect on the price. On the one hand, it is hoped to reduce traffic jams on toll roads and also to reduce environmental pollution.

Different systems for collecting tolls

Basically, there are currently two principles for collecting the toll: the access-related and the usage-related variant. Access-related means that the motorist receives a right of use for the roads that is independent of the actual use. Access is usually limited in time and is acquired and controlled primarily through vignettes. Vignettes are stuck to the windshield and are visible during inspections. They are usually available at petrol stations, rest stops and the national traffic clubs.

With the usage-based collection of tolls, the amount depends on which route is actually covered on toll roads. The fees are collected at local toll stations and are based on the length of the distance traveled. While the use of vignettes is relatively easy, the usage-based variant requires more effort. On the other hand, vignettes put drivers at a disadvantage who are not often on the road because they do not save any savings. This encourages frequent driving.

In many countries, tolls are also differentiated according to vehicle class. Motorcycles are often cheaper to drive, mobile homes pay more.

Countries with usage-based tollsCountries with access-related tolls
  • The oldest usage-based toll system in Europe can be found in Italy. There is either billed in the closed system according to the distance traveled or you pay a lump sum on some routes in the open system, for example 4.30 euros for the route Naples - Salerno.
  • In Spain comparatively high motorway tolls are charged: for 100 kilometers, the driver pays around eight euros on most motorway routes. Only some city highways are free of charge.
  • France also collects tolls on almost all motorways. As a car driver, you have to reckon with around five euros per 100 kilometers.
  • You need a vignette, for example, in Austria and the Switzerland. In Austria you can choose between periods of ten days, two months and one year and pay between 9.20 and 89.20 euros. There are also toll roads in Austria, such as the Brenner motorway, for which additional fees apply in addition to the vignette.
  • Anyone traveling in Austria without a vignette must expect a fine of 400 to 4,000 euros.
  • In Switzerland, regardless of the travel period, you have to purchase an annual vignette for 40 euros.
  • Other European countries with vignette systems are Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

European countries without toll

There are no tolls in Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Monaco, Luxembourg, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova, Cyprus and Ukraine, among others. These toll-free countries are outnumbered within Europe.

Where does a special toll apply?

Some European cities have introduced a city center toll to relieve the city centers in terms of traffic jams and emissions. These include Oslo, London, Stockholm, Milan and Rome.

In addition, many countries have specific fees for certain bridges or specific roads. Driving on the Öresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö costs 20 euros for a car, although Denmark and Sweden do not otherwise levy any regular tolls for cars. In the Netherlands, drivers only have to pay for special routes, namely on the Willem-Alexander Bridge and when passing through two tunnels. Norway also only charges a few roads, bridges and tunnels.

In Austria there are regular tolls that are paid using the vignette. Even so, some roads and tunnels are subject to an additional fee. The use of the Brenner motorway costs around nine euros and the Grossglockner High Alpine Road around 35 euros. In Switzerland, too, the vignette is not sufficient everywhere: For the Sankt-Bernhard-Tunnel car drivers have to pay just under 28 euros for a single passage and other tunnels in Switzerland can only be driven through after paying a fee.

Toll fees in Germany

The introduction of tolls in Germany has been discussed for a long time. There has been a toll for trucks since 2005, the amount of which depends on the distance covered, the number of vehicle axles and the emission class. The toll plans for cars have so far failed time and again, most recently because it was feared that the law would discriminate against foreign drivers.

In June 2015, an infrastructure tax law was passed, but the EU Commission has initiated infringement proceedings because of the suspected discrimination against foreign motorists. The toll introduction planned for the beginning of 2016 was initially postponed to 2017. (As of September 2015)

What is planned for the German toll?

The law that has been passed provides for an access-related toll that is to be regulated by means of a vignette. Every car owner must purchase this for the entire year and pay fees depending on the engine size and environmental balance of his vehicle, the maximum amount should be 130 euros. What is special about the German system: the car owner is exempted from paying the toll in the vehicle tax so that he does not have to bear any higher costs.

There will be no physical vignette in Germany that is stuck to the windshield, for example in Austria. A so-called “e-vignette” is planned: the number plates will be electronically recorded at certain stations along the way and a data comparison will determine whether a toll has been paid for the car. In Germany, electric cars and vehicles that are also exempt from vehicle tax will not be subject to tolls. These include, for example, ambulances and emergency vehicles from the fire brigade and police.

Foreign drivers can purchase an annual vignette or opt for a shorter period: ten days should cost ten euros, two months 22 euros. This draft was criticized for the fact that foreign motorists are disadvantaged because they do not get any money back through the vehicle tax. The Federal Council has also criticized the draft law and, in addition to the additional burden on foreign drivers, also criticized the low additional income due to the high costs.

Future model of uniform EU toll

The EU Transport Commissioner has proposed a common toll for all 28 EU countries. This is intended to make traveling within the EU easier, as there is no need to switch between different toll systems. The income is to flow into the expansion of the infrastructure. However, there are still no precise concepts for implementation.

Toll systems outside of Europe

Some countries outside Europe also charge tolls. Unlike in Europe, vignette systems are not common. The non-European countries with tolls include, for example:

  • USA: Some roads in the USA are chargeable, especially in the east of the country and California. There are also fees for some tunnels and bridges, such as the Golden Gate Bridge. Payment can be made directly from the vehicle at the pay stations at the beginning of the toll route. In the case of rental cars, the fee is usually automatically collected via stickers attached to the car, so that you can pay conveniently after the car has been returned.
  • Brazil: In Brazil, many federal highways are subject to tolls. These are in better condition than the free ones. The toll is collected at toll booths and paid in cash.
  • India: Much of the highways and trunk roads in India are toll roads. Payment is usually made in cash, more rarely via transponder.
  • Mexico: In Mexico, drivers can choose between paid and free roads. The latter are usually in a much worse condition and very overcrowded because of the relatively high fees on the toll roads.