there will be vacation trips and there will be sanctions. I myself have come across the peacocks!

Theoretically, I was ready to confront the e-toll system on the day of its launch, in December 2021. I cursed the unprecedented procedure of “launching” the state application for payment for highways, I managed to get one of the cars I drive to register the system. I did it because I had to – that’s what they pay me to keep up with these kinds of inventions. I even donated my own National Revenue Administration Internet Customer Account the minimum required amount (20 PLN), after which I forgot the subject. I rarely use the two sections of highways that pertain to passenger car drivers, and since December 2021 I have not had this pleasure so far. Summer travel is just getting started, though, and on a long weekend in June, I nearly fell into a driver trap. An accident of this type may not be the end of the world, it is a 500 zloty fine, but it is more than annoying.

e-toll: the basics for beginners


Photo: car wiat

You can buy the ticket at selected gas stations. This is … the most popular payment method for these trips

From the driver’s point of view of a car up to 3.5 tons, the e-toll system (so far) only works on two parts of national roads: on the A2 part of Konin-Stryków and the A4 part of Wrocław-Sośnica. Manual toll stations are closed on these stretches, but barriers are open “so you don’t waste time”. You do have to pay for the ride: either by launching a prepaid tracking application on your smartphone that records the route and automatically debits your account, or by purchasing an e-ticket for the ride. Tickets can be purchased at a gas station or through another application. You have to buy a separate ticket for each trip. You must provide the travel date and time. You must indicate which entrance you enter the toll area from and which you exit – the system must determine the amount to be paid. You cannot buy a subscription for the whole year.

Of course that doesn’t mean all goals are gone! For example, on the A2 we drive from Warsaw, first we pass the state part, where we pay with e-Toll, and then we get to the traditional gates of the concession highway. In total, for one trip from Warsaw to the border and back, we pay more than, say, a Swiss person to use highways in his country all year round.

e-Toll: this is how it works in practice

You can also buy the ticket online.  You just need to carefully plan the route for each trip and don't adjust it during the trip

Photo: E-Toll PL-TICKET

You can also buy the ticket online. You just need to carefully plan the route for each trip and don’t adjust it during the trip

The biggest problem with e-toll payments from a driver’s point of view is that you have to plan your route. If we go to the direction where the highway toll booths are designated, we need to know in advance that we will use them, and if we buy an e-ticket (also an analog ticket bought at the station is called an e-ticket ), we also need to know with which node we will enter the highway and with which node. Meanwhile, the average driver who goes on vacation and the environment he passes does not usually start navigation and is not interested in which way he is going. Until now, when you had to pay the highway, he stopped at the gates, paid what they asked and kept going. Now he has to orient himself under threat of a postcard that comes in the mail.

I had a tracking app. I’ve paid

E-TOLL PL Application

Photo: Tomasz Okurowski / Auto Swiat

E-TOLL PL Application

And so I almost “run into it”, literally driving on the toll booth of the A2. Well, I’m going on a weekend trip with my family and suddenly my wife asks, “What is an e-Toll?” E-Toll, why do you ask? Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see signs that I’m about to enter the toll section. I didn’t buy a ticket! I don’t know where I’m leaving the highway (I’m guided by navigation)! Panic!

I remembered once being able to set up a tracking application for the car I drive. Relief! I reach for the phone, start the application (yes, I will reach for it a few times from behind the wheel to make sure all three control windows of the application light up green) … The application asks me for a ​​pin code . I remember him, but the application is so hopeless that it doesn’t even show the big numeric keypad “for the driver”. I ask my wife to enter the password on the little QWERTY keyboard because I direct and I don’t want to risk it. It functions. I start the program, click a few confirmations (I just miss “I don’t use the phone while driving”) and it’s done.

As if confirming that the e-Toll is faster, the road narrows immediately after the start of the toll section. Then I drive along the regular highway for a while, let it go after a few minutes, and it’s all over. Then I check: out of the 20 zloty paid six months ago, it cost me 2.90 zloty.

Unfortunately, if I were to drive another car, I would have to buy a ticket, drive on the open road or pay “after the fact” in the hope that I wouldn’t be stopped for an on-route inspection. Unfortunately, configuring the application in the parking lot or trying to add another car to it may fail.

E-toll: what do you have to pay if you drive a passenger car?

It looks like the National Revenue Administration (this institution manages highway toll collection) will soon be making some serious money from fines – the equipment for automatic intersection verification is already here. Just as my wife didn’t know what an e-Toll is, she has a significant number of motorists had not used it before because it was not necessary. This is a complete surprise to many. ‘E-toll? That’s for trucks, isn’t it?’

The biggest surprise awaits foreign tourists who will travel to Poland by car – there are no goals, no need to pay, simple. If there were vignettes in Poland, as in Austria or Switzerland, it would be something else: you pay for a week, month or year and nothing interests you. The idea of ​​having to buy a separate ticket for each highway ride, with the exact route and time, is so utterly absurd it sounds like a joke. But this is no joke.

Didn’t you pay for the highway? You can try to pay “downstream”

If you are not stopped by a patrol during the journey (it is possible, but not very realistic in practice), and you are afraid that the system will automatically register an unpaid trip and generate a fine by reading the license plates, you can pay for the trip “afterwards” up to three days from the trip by going to the website etoll.gov.pl. Again, it’s not like there’s a big “pay the fare” icon on the site, it’s not a breeze, but it’s possible. I wanted to tell the readers step by step exactly where to click to do this, but the system “crashed” and the website etoll.gov.pl just stopped working. By the time you read this it may be working again – try it in the “buy e-highway ticket” tab.

E-toll will be common. You pay for every kilometer traveled

The best part, however, is that the system, which until now only applies to passenger car drivers on two toll sections, will be extended to all free roads up to 3.5 tons of the National Reconstruction Plan.

So it is worth practicing today, and especially to be vigilant when the car navigation can freely adjust the route to avoid traffic jams during the holidays. A moment of inattention and you can be “lighter” for PLN 500.

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