Preparations for summer travels

Summer has arrived and lots of people are on the road towards their holiday destination, many of whom do not use toll road sections during the year at all. Thanks to these travelers and the masses of migrant workers visiting their families in their respective home countries, traffic on Hungary’s motorways, which also serve as international transit routes, is multiplied during the summer months. Due to the regulatory changes at the beginning of the year, it is worth reviewing what you need to keep in mind when purchasing your vignettes to avoid any penalty.

Key information about e-vignette purchases

Remember that pursuant to the relevant statutes, e-vignettes must be paid prior to entering the toll road section (practically before you begin your trip). Purchased e-vignettes are not valid for road use retroactively; e-vignettes purchased retrospectively (even if only a few minutes late) constitute unauthorized road use and result in subjection to penalty payment. Prior to making your payment and signing the receipt, always check the registration number, the country code, the category and the validity period of the vignette. The motorist purchasing the e-vignette is responsible for verifying the correctness of the data.

The traditional nationwide, time-based vignettes are still available at the same prices for periods of 10 days, one month and one year. You do not need to purchase any regional vignette for the validity period of such nationwide vignettes. The road user must have one type of valid authorization for the specific road section at the time of the travel, which may be either a time-based or a regional vignette.

Change in toll categories

An important change in this year’s toll categories that in addition to the traditional D1, a new category called D2 has been introduced. Passenger cars for up to 7 persons (including the driver) and their trailers remained in category D1 (i.e. no additional e-vignette is required for trailers towed by passenger cars). All cars not included in the D1 toll category (vehicles for more than 7 persons) and cargo vehicles with a maximum permissible gross weight of 3.5 tons, and campers belong to the new D2 category. Please be advised that toll categories can be identified by the official marks in the registration certificate (fields J and S.1) and further details are included in the table at www.toll-charge.hu website.

The prices of weekly (10-day) and monthly e-vignettes of the D2 category are double those of the D1 category whereas the annual vignettes are priced the same.

The new toll category U includes trailers (including light trailers) attached to vehicles in categories D2 and B2. In such cases e-vignettes must be purchased for the vehicle as well as the trailer (e.g. if a category B2 vehicle with a trailer uses a toll road, then vignettes for both the B2 and U categories must be purchased). Category U authorizations must always be purchased for the registration number of the trailer.

New toll roads

As most of the members of the Hungarian expressway network have become toll roads, motorway or highway signs, almost without exception, also indicate the start of toll sections. On the sections in the Budapest area a secondary sign also marks the toll section. On the sections of the M1, M3 and M7 motorways exiting Budapest, information signs placed before the last toll-free section will remind drivers of the distance to the start of the tolled section. On the M0 expressway, direction signs inform drivers about the start of the toll road section before entry, allowing drivers to exit the expressway at the last junction before the toll section.

Motorists are advised to visit www.toll-charge.hu to learn more about the toll road network with national and county maps.

According to the Decree effective from February 1 2015, the following road sections can be used toll free:

• the M31 motorway,

• the M86 expressway,

• the M8 motorway,

• the M9 expressway on its section between Main Road 6 and Main Road 51,

• the Kaposvár loop section of M9 expressway (sign of Main Road 61),

• the M4 expressway (sign of Main Road 4) on the section between Vecsés and the road leading to Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport (between km sections 19+550 and 20+518);

• The following sections of the M0 expressway:

o the section between Main Road 1 and the M5 motorway;

o the section between the M4 expressway (Main Road 4) and the M3 motorway;

o Megyeri Bridge (the section between Main Road 11 and Main Road 2).

In addition to the above, the remaining sections of M0, and, in addition to the access and exit sections of the expressways within the beltway, the previously toll-free city bypass roads and expressways are also toll roads.

The scope of validity of the regional vignette extends outside the relevant county, up to the first junction past the county border. Consult the annex to the Toll Decree also available at www.toll-charge.hu about the territorial validity of the regional vignettes according to junction numbers and road section numbers. Those travelling between the south side of Lake Balaton and Budapest need regional vignettes for Pest, Fejér and Somogy counties. Those travelling between the north side of Lake Balaton and Budapest need, considering the summer diversions, would only need regional vignettes for Pest and Fejér counties to travel at any time to the “Hungarian sea”. The county maps use thick red lines to indicate road sections that can be used in the neighboring county and large blue circles to designate junctions where motorists can exit the toll section without any further toll payment obligation. Similarly to national annual vignettes, regional vignettes are valid from the date of purchase until January 31 of the following year.

 Enforcement

Road use authorization is enforced by registration numbers. Those purchasing traditional vignettes in person confirm the correctness of the data (registration number, toll category, start and end of the validity period) by signing the receipt and SMS purchases are confirmed by the reply text message. Therefore, it is important that you verify the correctness of such information prior to making the purchase. The motorist purchasing the e-vignette is responsible for verifying the correctness of the data.

A higher number of inspections are expected on toll roads in the summer. In addition to the usual permanent control gates and mobile toll control vehicles, other inspections concentrating on a specific route and pull-over type inspections will be employed. The purpose of these campaigns is to screen for violators. During the mobile, on-site pull-over control, violators can pay the levied penalty on-site in cash or by bank card. Due to this control method already proven in HU-GO, the system immediately identifies vehicles passing through the checkpoint without a valid road use authorization.

Services available at customer service offices

NTPS operates 17 customer service offices nationwide offering comprehensive toll payment services to motorists. In addition to Hungarian vignettes, these customer service offices sell road use authorizations valid in Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Austria. No worries if you entered the wrong registration number upon purchase because you can correct up to 3 characters at the NTPS offices for a service fee. If you have a valid e-vignette but you sell the vehicle during the validity period or the vehicle is totaled in a traffic accident, you may transfer the existing road use authorization to another vehicle of the same toll category.

For more information, call the 24/7 call center of the National Toll Payment Services Plc. at +36-36-587-500 or visit www.toll-charge.hu or facebook.com/nemzetiutdij.

For road safety purposes, always purchase your e-vignette prior to your trip or when the vehicle is parked and never while driving.