It is a success for the government
During the session of the Sejm Infrastructure Committee, which took place on Wednesday, January 12, Magdalena Rzeczkowska, secretary of state in the Ministry of Finance and head of the National Revenue Administration, presented the government’s point of view on the implementation of the e-TOLL system. In terms of servicing passenger vehicles, it emphasized the fact that barriers on toll motorways managed by the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways were raised.
As Magdalena Rzeczkowska noted, the goal was achieved. On January 10, 2022 1.6 million vehicles were registered in the eTOLL system, of which 81 percent. These are those with a permissible total weight of more than 3.5 tons. There are over 300,000 in the base. passenger cars and 643 thousand. registered accounts. Trucks and passenger cars have already traveled over a billion kilometers using the system.
Importantly for the government side, so far the implementation of e-TOLL cost PLN 285 million (it is planned to be PLN 448 million), and the cost of monthly system maintenance is PLN 10.5 million. For comparison, as reported by Magdalena Rzeczkowska, the previous system – viaTOLL – was implemented for approximately PLN 1.5 billion, and the monthly maintenance cost exceeded PLN 20 million. However, the question remains: what do ordinary drivers get?
No comfort or punishment
The toll collection system should be as least burdensome and as intuitive as possible for motorists. The e-TOLL is far from ideal in this respect. According to the Ministry of Finance, 976,000 jobs have been recorded so far. e-TOLL application downloads and 273 thousand. e-TOLL Bilet PL application downloads.
However, the application for billing with the use of GPS requires that it be launched while driving on a toll road, and the one for the purchase of a single-use ticket cannot be refunded in the event of resignation from covering part of the paid section, for example due to a traffic jam. Moreover, many drivers did not know at all how to pay for the highways.
At least, this is what the government reported from the data. From December 1, 2021, 17.6 thousand controlling the payment of tolls for motorways managed by GDDKiA by drivers of passenger cars. 1,143 offenses were found. According to the “price list” of fines on state highways, each of the caught drivers had to pay PLN 500. The total value of the penalties was PLN 570 thousand. zloty.
As the government side admits, in most cases penalties were imposed on people who did not register and purchase a ticket. In 43 cases, the reason for the penalty was obscured license plates. Such an offense also results in a fine of PLN 500. In addition to the cameras installed on many entrances with software that reads the registration numbers of cars, the National Revenue Administration also has police cars that also have this option. Soon 16 new ones will join the fleet.
More toll roads
Some drivers feared that the change of the toll collection system would only be a prelude to expanding the list of toll sections. And rightly so, because Jarosław Waszkiewicz, director of the Department of Public Roads at the Ministry of Infrastructure, officially confirmed this during the session of the parliamentary committee.
Both the toll road network for users of passenger vehicles and trucks will expand. As for the former, the ministry will carry out an analysis to suggest which sections of motorways in the GDDKiA management board can be subject to tolls in order to make it the most effective. When will this happen? No exact date was given.
The Ministry of Infrastructure will deal with this after the infrastructure used until recently for manual payment of fees has been put in order. This operation is expected to be completed within a year. After that, the expansion of the toll national highway network can be expected. The only good news is that for the time being the government side is not planning to increase rates per kilometer motorways managed by GDDKiA.
For carriers, the changes will take place earlier. Already in 2022, the toll road network for vehicles with a GVM of more than 3.5 tons may increase by up to 1,500 km. First of all, it will be sections of motorways and expressways free of charge.
The Ministry of Finance wants to improve the availability of purchase points for a paper highway ticket. Currently, it is possible at selected petrol stations of Orlen (currently 1,356 points) and Lotos (26 points). Talks with the BP network are underway and tickets are to be distributed soon at these stations as well. It is a pity that there are Shell stations operating in the last MOP car parks on the A4 and A2 motorways in front of the GDDKiA toll sections.
The expansion of the ticket distribution system is an important step, as so far 40 percent tickets were bought at petrol stations. The government’s e-TOLL Bilet application has convinced about 20 percent. drivers. Why so little? It is easy to use, as long as you know which section you want to buy a ticket for. As the head of KAS announced, soon in the application you will be able to indicate the section for which you want to buy a ticket using the map.
And what about the dream to finally one system served all toll sections of motorways in Poland? The regulations provide for the possibility for licensees to transfer fees to the National Revenue Administration. Unfortunately, as the government side admitted, no talks are currently underway on this subject.
It is known, however, that the government is currently talking to “one of the concessionaires” about the possibility introduction of videotolling. It is probably the concession section of the A2, because on those on the A1 and A4 motorways, tolls based on cameras that recognize registration numbers are already operational. If the talks were successful, applications would appear over time that would support all sections of tolled highways in Poland.
Dobromir Sośnierz (Konfederacja Wolność i Niepodległość) ended the session of the Infrastructure Committee with a bang. A Member who has not previously indicated the will to participate in the discussion, proposed to abolish the toll collection system on roads, the construction of which is, after all, financed by taxes. The parliamentarian was not allowed to finish his thoughts as he was taken from the floor and the sitting was closed.