David Baston with his 1966 Lotus Elan in Italy in 2005
UK drivers will soon have access to hassle-free toll payments on roads in Spain and Portugal thanks to the expansion of an automatic toll payment system from a Yorkshire firm.
Sanef Tolling, based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, already provides 155,000 UK customers with a tag used on French motorways to pass through toll booths without stopping.
These are now being extended to UK travellers heading to Spain and Portugal, where most motorways are tolled.
The expansion of the business comes after official figures revealed Spain enjoyed a record number of British visitors last year and Portugal continues to be one of the cheapest holiday destination for UK travellers.
The payment of tolls in the Algarve is a particular problem for UK tourists and hire car companies are charging excessive amounts to ensure UK holidaymakers don’t end up with an enforcement notice.
Charles Hewson, director of new business at Sanef Tolling, explained: “For the past six years, thousands of UK motorists driving in France have benefitted from our service that removes the hassle of stopping to pay tolls with cash, enabling them to drive straight through.
“We’re excited to now offer the same time-saving and hassle-free service to UK-based customers driving on the thousands of miles of motorway in Spain and Portugal, which hasn’t been possible up to now without a European address and bank account.”
Now for the first time, Brits can register and pay in sterling for hassle-free travel on motorways in France, Spain and Portugal, rather than rummaging for small change or facing toll booth queues, saving both time and stress.
David Baston is retired and frequently travels to France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, where he enjoys taking his 1966 Lotus Elan out on the open road.
He’s been making these journeys for around 25 years and said the Liber-t tag has made things much easier. He came across the tags after spotting an advert on the motorway in France.
He said: “It’s fab, absolutely brilliant. It’s a very neat system in that you don’t have to carry cash, and it just works so very well.
“When your car is so low to the ground and so old, sometimes the credit card slot for the tolls is on the passenger side of the car, so it’s a piece of cake; what’s not to like?”
As vehicles pass tolls, the uniquely referenced electronic tag, or transponder, which is placed on the windscreen close to the rear-view mirror, is automatically read, and the toll fee taken from the customer’s British bank account by direct debit up to 60 days later.
By investing in a Sanef Tolling VIA-T tag, motorists will be able to use the automated lanes and drive straight through toll barriers without any delays, or the need for local currency.
Charles added: “Many travellers may feel their best option is to hire a car with a tag already fitted, but that can often cost around €35 extra for a typical two-week holiday, while the actual toll cost might be just €3 to €5. So, buying your own tag can quickly produce cost savings, as well as making the journey a lot easier.
“Buying a Sanef Tolling tag in advance of your trip means you can simply fit it to the hire car as you would your own vehicle, and enjoy a swift, stress-free journey with fees automatically settled via Direct Debit.”