Like most countries, Portugal has an extensive network of toll roads, although some of the roads tolls are under dispute, until there's a clear directive from the government and the courts these still have to be paid. Tolls in Portugal are not the cheapest, and you can't always pay at a toll booth neither. In this short article we give you some basic guidelines.
Introduced in 1997 by the government of the day, the toll services SCUT (Sem Custos para o Utente, "No Cost to Users"), gave some private companies the task of maintenance and operation of many of the Portuguese highways under disputed PPP's (Public Private Partnership agreements). The companies given the concessions are Auto Estradas do Atlantico, Ascendi, Brisa and Lusoponte.
Since 2010, many dual carriageway roads in the Algarve, North (around Porto) and the Silver Coast (Costa de Prata) started to charge toll fees.
Despite many proposed changes, the Via Verde system stays as is and motorway tolls can be transited with either the Via Verde device or another form of electronic device (DE), or with payment by credit card or cash at some of the toll booths.
To use a toll road, take a ticket from the dispensing machine at the start of the route and hand it over at the toll booth (Portagen) at the end where a toll fee (Portagem) is charged. Each of the companies has its own pricing structure; toll fees vary.
Via Verde subscribers
Frequent toll road users can subscribe to the Via Verde (Green Route) system which allows drivers to pay monthly via Multibanco. An electronic device (Entidade de Cobran�a de Portagens - DECP) is attached to the windscreen and automatically registers the vehicle when it passes through the toll. The cost of passage is calculated and deducted off the subscriber's account. The Via Verde system gives priority passage at the toll points and discounted toll fees. Only subscribers may use the green Via Verde motorway toll gates.
Some roadways have an overhead electronic toll gantry system (they do not have toll booths allowing for for cash or card payment) and tolls are collected automatically by reading the electronic device (dispositivo electronico - DE) fitted to the car windscreen.
DE are sold at Via Verde shops (Lojas Via Verde) and the post office (CCT). Payment for passage can be made in one of the following ways:
: as with DECP device, payment for passage is charged directly to the bank account of the subscriberVia Verde Automatic payment
Prepayment: either specific to a vehicle owner or to the device, the passage fee is paid for in advance and "loaded" to the device then deducted each time a toll is passed
In the case that a vehicle does not have a DE, the vehicle registration is logged and payment plus a small administrative fee must be made within five days at the post office or Payshop. This option is not available for foreign-registered vehicles.
A DT (Dispositivo Tempor�rio) may be leased from certain motorway service stations or post offices (CTT) for use in foreign-registered vehicles. These are not specific to a particular vehicle and are designed for short-term use of up to 90 days.
The price for leasing the device is proportional to the period it is needed, for example one week rental costs �6 with a small additional fee for subsequent weeks. A refundable deposit is also charged.
There are two ways to pay when leasing the device:
: toll fees debited or credit card;via multibanco Automatic payment
Prepayment: preloading a minimum of �10 (light vehicles) or �20 (heavy vehicles). In this case, the preloaded and unused balance is non-refundable.
Discounted tolls for residents of some areas are available if certain criteria are met. Residents and local companies are exempt from toll fees for the first ten passages per month, with additional discounts of 15 percent being available for use of certain roadways if an electronic device is registered to the vehicle.
To qualify, a resident must provide a property registration certificate or the vehicle registration (and if the vehicle belongs to a leasing company, they must confirm the name and address of the lessee).