By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 19 February 2022 • 13:40
Spain will from 2024 reintroduce a network of toll roads but unlike those of the past, you will need to pay your toll fee beforehand. The reintroduction of tolls comes as part of the agreement with the EU who have provided funds to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although no specific plan has been agreed, there is a model that the government is likely to follow with the Provincial Council of Guipúzcoa having launched an electronic toll system without booths on the section of the A-636 between Beasain and Bergara. The system known as ‘Free Flow’ was introduced a month ago and is based on those in use elsewhere, with countries as diverse as Portugal, South Africa and the United States using the prinicipal.
The Guipuzcoan Infrastructure Agency will manage the first ‘Free Flow’ system to be implemented in Spain, which uses an electronic toll gate to detect whether drivers have paid the cost of the journey or not. At the moment, all motor vehicles except motorcycles have to pay the toll.
So instead of toll booths the road now has arches equipped with electronic toll cameras that detect the number plates of the vehicles in real time and check with the database of the Guipuzcoan Infrastructure Agency if they are registered.
All drivers who are going to drive on this section of motorway must previously request the Abiatu device, which the Guipuzcoan Infrastructure Agency makes available to all registered drivers in Guipúzcoa . It is very similar to the Via-T system, and can also be used in the rest of Spain, as well as in France and Portugal.
To request the Abiatu device, drivers must register on the website of the Guipuzcoan Infrastructure Agency (Bidegi) . Once they have the device installed in the vehicle, they must enter the website again to register the vehicle’s license plate and a current account number.
The system is only aimed at those registered and residents of Guipúzcoa . The rest of the drivers who need to travel this section of motorway will have to have the Via-T system.
Regarding the price, on the A-636 drivers must pay 2.53 euros for each journey , although there are different bonus systems of 25%, 55% and 75% depending on the number of trips per month. In addition, there is a reduced price for round trips, and Abiatu users have a spending cap of 34.47 euros for the use of the AP-1/AP-8 Gipuzkoa motorways and the A-636 motorway.
If you are looking to travel around Spain and will be using toll roads its best to check beforehand whether you will need to pre-register or to pay in advance.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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