Greece begins pay-per-mile tolling to replace old ‘unfair’ toll charges

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Greece is the first country in the European Union to operate an electronic toll system in which car drivers are only charged for actual kilometers driven on the motorway. The new “Hybrid Multi-Lane Toll System” from Kapsch TrafficCom supplements the unpopular existing payment system that charges drivers for an entire section of road, even if they exit after the first toll barrier.

“Kilometer-based toll billing is the future,” says Michael Weber, strategic sales manager of Kapsch TrafficCom. “The European Union sees traditional section payment as an unfair phase-out model and is pushing to charge only for actual kilometers driven. This method will be mandatory for new toll routes and a recommended feature for existing toll routes. This means that the changeover on the A8 motorway from Athens to Patras in December 2020 is not only groundbreaking for Greece, but is likely to set a precedent throughout the EU.”

To use the new service, which is outlined in a promotional video, cars will be equipped with on-board units that attach to the vehicle’s interior windshield . When the car enters a toll checkpoint, the system will automatically debit the toll costs from the owner’s customer account and the barrier will open to allow the vehicle onto the highway. As soon as the vehicle exits the route, any overpaid costs for the entire section will be credited back to the driver’s account in a mileage-based billing transaction.

Reduced emissions and improved traffic flow 

Civic leaders of cities and towns along the Athens-Patras motorway have lobbied for the introduction of the hybrid multi-lane toll system. The reason is that motorists wanting to avoid the cost of an entire stretch of motorway 8 stayed on roads going through towns, which resulted in a considerable noise and emissions burden. Mileage-based charging with the new system now provides a rebate solution in which overpaid road use is credited according to the actual exit chosen. Drivers have a new incentive to use the motorway.

“Other toll routes in Greece, as well as in other countries such as Spain or Italy, are likely to follow the example of the new ‘Hybrid Multi-Lane Toll System,'” says Michael Weber. “The billing technology not only ensures that costs are charged fairly in line with European Union recommendations, but can also be expanded to include additional services. For example, it is possible to set the toll for vehicles according to different environmental standards: e-vehicles would pay less than gasoline or diesel, for example.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).