There has been some confusion regarding the new toll system on the A22 “Via do Infante” highway in the Algarve, so we are making this post to try and clear some questions, basically the system is a purely electronic one, with tolls being replaced with a series of gates through the highway that will mark the trip of a car.
For a rental car, it depends on the agreement with the rental company, it could be included in the price or paid directly by the client or something in between, you should always check with your rental company.
Unfortunately the system is a bit confusing at the moment, since there are 2 ways of paying for the toll, with a electronic device or without a electronic device and each has different methods of paying and registering the trip, both before making the trip and afterwards.
Toll Payment Systems
With a Electronic Device
In order for the vehicles to use the above mentioned highway, they can use an electronic device, which must be bought or hired beforehand at a Service Area (Área de Serviço) alongside the highways or at a post office (CTT/Correios).
There are three types of electronic devices:
- Electronic license plate device (Dispositivo electrónico de matrícula – DEM)
The device is linked to the vehicle’s license plate and cannot be transmitted to other cars. Obtaining: at the highway service areas or other locations like the post offices and the Via Verde Portugal-shops. Validity: valid for 90 days as from the date of the last preload. After this period the remaining balance will be lost and the device will be deactivated. To reactivate the device it will be necessary to re-charge it with a minimum of €10.
- Temporary device (Dispositivo temporário – DT)
A good solution for a short stay, and as a result for vehicles with a foreign license plate; the license plate is not linked to the device, therefore, anonymity is guaranteed. Obtaining: it is necessary to establish a lease contract with the responsible entities, at the highway service areas or other locations like the post offices and the Via Verde Portugal-shops. Validity: valid for 90 days as from the date of the last preload. After this period the remaining balance will be lost and the device will be deactivated. To reactivate the device it will be necessary to re-charge it with a minimum of €10.
- Devices from a toll entity (Dispositivo de uma entidade de cobrança de Portagens – DECP) like Via Verde
Via Verde is also accepted on these highways. Although the license plate is not linked to the device, it is necessary to establish a contract with a toll entity. This can be used by vehicles with a foreign license plate that stay in Portugal for a longer period of time. Obtaining: Via Verde-shops (www.viaverde.pt). Validity: Until the cancellation of the contract.
Without Electronic Devices
Three day pre-paid ticket (only available for vehicles with a foreign license plate)
This ticket is valid for three days and may only be used for light vehicles, for several unlimited journeys on the above motorways (only where the tolls are exclusively electronic). Purchase: Post offices, Payshop chain, Porto Airport and the internet on: http://portagens.ctt.pt . It is allowed the purchase of a maximum of 6 pre-paid tickets per year and per each vehicle license plate.
Prepaid credit (only available for vehicles with a foreign license plate)
If the period you are staying in Portugal does not justify the option of the Temporary device, one can opt for charging based on the registration of an image of the license plate in everyone of the electronic toll booths. Before passing the highways on which the charging is exclusively electronic and through the CTT website, drivers (after being registered on this site and being provided with login and password) can choose one of the following modalities:
- Make a prepayment valid for five days or up to the balance, to the value of €10 (plus administrative costs and joining fee) rechargeable at post offices, Payshop chain and Multibanco. The unused balance can be refunded, to a credit card, in accordance to the details given on registration.
- Make a prepayment for predefined journeys on specific days. The payment is made through a valid credit card. The amount charged depends on the option chosen. You can register here (only available in Portuguese): http://portagens.ctt.pt
Payment after having circulated at the roads concerned (only available for vehicles with a Portuguese license plate)
If a vehicle does not have an electronic device when circulating at the highways concerned, a photo of the license plate will be made and saved until the payment is made. Term for payment: the payment can be made at the second day after having circulated at the roads mentioned above and for a period of five weekdays, at the post office or at one of the shops signalized as “Payshop”. Note: when a payment term has passed, the driver is in violation of the rules, and fines will be added to the administrative costs.
Update on 22nd of August, 2012
There is now a kind of alternative, you can go to CTT Valor em Divida das Portagens (its from the Post Office site) and put your car license plate and security code and check to see if you have tolls to pay.
If you have something to pay, you just need to send a SMS (mobile short message) to the number 68989 (it has a cost of 0.30 €) with this writen: “CTTMB licenseplate” (example: CTTMB AA-00-00), please note its CTTMB then a space and then your license plate number. You will receive a text message back with all the necessary references to pay by Multibanco (Portuguese ATM) or if you have a Portuguese bank account you can do it on your bank account website.
Of course this will include the same administrative fees as paying in the post office, as such the value on the Post Office site might be a bit inferior to the real value to pay, this new service is only for Portuguese license plates, and please only pay until 5 days after you passed the tolls, since if you try after that you will lose your money, since it already has a fine included.
Update on 21st of June, 2013
Easy Toll – New payment option for vehicles with foreign license plates.
The easytoll system lets you associate the vehicle license plate with a credit card, so when you pass through the tolls it will automatically debit your credit card, you can change, check how much you spent or cancel on the official site www.portugaltolls.com.
Also the same site lets you buy prepaid cards (prepaid with 5€, 10€, 20€ or 40€) before taking the trip, its the same prepaid cards you can buy on the automatic machines on the border, service areas, on any post office and like i said on the site www.portugaltolls.com.
I hope this was helpful, any questions please just make a comment and we will try and help.