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post #2 of (permalink) Old 6th March 2006
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Tolls in Europe

I can only tell you about France, Spain and Italy and because they work in the same way the tolls in Germany are probably the same.

Start off with plenty of eoros in small change. Some tolls are throw in the basket, usually a small amount. The major toll roads require you to either

1. take a ticket from the booth. This is done by pressing the button and the ticket comes out. All at driver/passenger height. The back of the ticket will tell you how much you will have to pay, depending where you exit the autoroute. Or,

2. outside towns you will sometimes have free sections where you don't pay anything, at the end of the free section will be either a toll booth where you chuck in the amount it tells you, or you pay a person in the booth or take a ticket.

It sounds complicated but it is easy-peasy. The benefits are, little traffic and excellent reststops. You will see signs for 'Aire de picnic/or the name of the area'. These are usually pleasant wooded rest areas with picnic tables. The loos are generally basic and clean, but after the weekend or a bank holiday they can be challenging.

The service stations are large and well stocked with everything. In some tourist areas they can be very grand and interesting.

Children are catered for at all these places with good play areas.

There are no down sides, at busy times you may experience traffic. The exit from toll booths across a huge plaza can be like a Le Mans start. Just take care and be conscious of all around you racing to get into the two lanes.

The french tend to have good lane discipline and will always pull back into the inside lane. You will find some drivers who drive at high speeds roaring up behind you, so use your mirrors. The french police can check your ticket on exit and calculate your speed from the time of entrance and exit, and fine, for cash, on the spot. It is not cheap and in all my experience I have not met anyone who has experienced such an event.

The toll roads are expensive but set the cost against the busy main roads which are well used, can be very busy and slow. The time saved and cost in fuel goes a long way to offset the cost of the toll.

Enjoy the experience. and if you have smallish children, take plenty to occupy them.

Have fun

Bob is offline  
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