Motorway toll charges: frozen prices in France and soon free in Spain
Last Friday, the French government has asked the motorway managing companies to freeze all prices for 2019 and put the 1,8% increase on hold. Meanwhile in Spain, the state has decided not to renew contracts for its motorways.
Therefore, 2019 will see the last price increase (+1,67%) before all Spanish motorways become completely free. Other news is that Sanef, one of the French motorway contractors, will be launching/testing a new free-flow toll system on the A4 near Metz.
It is fair to say that the Yellow Jacket movement will have had an impact on the French government and the price of life. With motorway tolls chosen as one of their targets – with some being damaged or destroyed along the way – protestors complained about the prices of motorways.
No price increase for 2019
Last Friday, the French government met with the motorway managing companies (Vinci, APRR and Sanef) to discuss the potential freeze of prices for 2019. According to the contract, prices should increase on February 1st by 1,8% but the State doesn’t agree with this and has asked the managing companies to make an effort and reduce prices.
Yet, the motorway companies aren’t yet inclined to obey. They want the State to increase the duration of their concessions. According to the contracts, those will end in 2030.
Free motorways in Spain
In Spain, the motorway concessions will expire much sooner than their neighbour’s but the government has decided to take back control. 2019 will therefore see the last price increase of 1,67% before all of the country’s motorways become state-managed and free in 2021.
In addition, the government has decided to be in par with its neighbouring countries’ speed limits and will reduce the speed on all secondary roads without divider from 100 to 90 kph.
Back in France, the North and East Motorway Company (Sanef) will start testing in February a new toll system on the A4 motorway near Metz. The conventional barriers will be replaced by a gantry equipped with cameras that will scan all cars.
The idea is to reduce traffic (congestion) and, therefore, pollution. This ‘free-flow’ system is largely used in other countries (Ireland, UK, Portugal, and more).
The motorist will have ten days to pay the 1,30 euro toll charge online or on a terminal located near the exit. Sanef will also introduce a prepaid pass and a subscription system. “The plan is to transform all Normandy’s tolls into ‘free-flow’ systems. Currently, you stop five times between Paris and Caen”, adds a Sanef spokesperson.
According to the company, the removal of barriers will save 10 million litres of fuel per year on the Paris-Normandy motorway alone.