Continuing its protest against the introduction of the A22 tolls, the Algarve’s Left Bloc is taking to the N125 on 25th July to highlight the many “black spots” and to stress the need for urgent improvements, if the N125 is ever to be a viable toll-free alternative to the A22.
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The long-anticipated toll charging system for the Algarve’s A22 motorway came into effect on 8th December 2011. The system covers the length of the A22, but some toll-free, short journeys can be made, particularly between adjacent exits. For example, it is possible to cross the bridge from Spain using the A22 and transfer to the N125, or to travel from Bensafrim to Lagos, without incurring a charge.
The normal toll rate for class 1 small cars is 9c/km. The class 1 journey from Lagos to the airport currently costs €6.60 including IVA. Toll rates for 9-seaters, SUVs and other larger vehicles are higher. There are no toll booths as such. The system captures number plate information using cameras mounted on overhead gantries, and automatically creates or updates an account for each vehicle identified.
Originally scheduled to be introduced in April, the A22 tolls have been strongly resisted by local residents and businesses. This is despite the exemptions and discounts being offered temporarily to people living or working in adjacent council areas. Visitors to the Algarve, particularly the Spanish, have also opposed the measure, going so far as joining with the locals in demonstrations involving hundreds of vehicles.
The government will not be introducing the tolls on the four “SCUT” motorways previously scheduled for the 15th of April, reports AFPOP, the Association for Foreign Residents and Property Owners in Portugal. The process is now on hold until the result of the elections in June.