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Algarve motorway toll to cause disruption for holidaymakers

British tourists driving in the sunny Algarve have been warned of severe disruption following the introduction of a new road toll.

Travellers driving in the popular holiday destination have been told to expect delays and congestion as the controversial road toll on the region’s main motorway could create a build up of traffic.

The toll, which is on the A22 motorway, was levied in December following pressures on the Portuguese government to raise taxes. The move to charge road users has been described as ‘unworkable’ by visitors and local residents.

Adding further fury to holiday motorists, payments must be made prior to using the motorway. There are no booths on the road to accept the €8.30 (£6.90) charge from Faro to Lagos.

Anyone driving a foreign registered vehicle must pay before using the motorway. This can be done by purchasing credits at a local post office of a designated ‘PayShop’. There is a small booth at the border between Spain and Portugal where passes can be bought from a machine. The passes last between three and five days.

Another system is expected to roll out later this summer enabling foreign drivers to register their credit card and number plate to have the correct fee deducted automatically.

A spokesperson for AHERTA, which is the Algarve’s largest hotel and resort association, claimed that the new toll will result in a “chaotic summer”. In addition, they argued that traffic on the A22 had fallen by a staggering 56% since the introduction of the scheme.

Holidaymakers who hire a car in the country must pay the toll. However, they can pay between two and 10 days after using the road. This means that confusingly for car renters, all tolls incurred within 48 hours of departing cannot be paid. Instead, the Portuguese authorities will contact the driver at his or her home address for payment.

Those looking to reduce the cost of their holiday car rental might want to find a cheaper car hire insurance policy.

Date Created: 16 July 2012

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