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Toll Collect - Germany

As the first country in Europe Germany has implemented an electronic road toll collection system, named Toll Collect. It has been operating since 2005 for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 12 tonnes and more. The system covers motorways and the selected national trunk roads. Toll rates depend on the travelled distance expressed in kilometres. Since 2012, tolls have been charged also on four-lane national roads.

As the first country in Europe Germany has implemented an electronic road toll collection system, named Toll Collect. It has been operating since 2005 for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 12 tonnes and more. The system covers motorways and the selected national trunk roads. Toll rates depend on the travelled distance expressed in kilometres. Since 2012, tolls have been charged also on four-lane national roads.

How does the system work?

The German electronic toll system is based on GPS satellite location technology. An on-board unit installed in a vehicle automatically records travelled routes and calculates the relevant fee. Apart from the satellite technology, Toll Collect OBU is also equipped with a DSRC module. It can operate using microwave technology (communicating with terrestrial transmitters). The latter solution has been used in particular in Toll2GO system (link do sekcji Opłaty drogoweàToll2Go) operating in both Germany and Austria.

Please remember that the road toll systems for goods vehicles which operate in Austria (GO) and Germany (Toll Collect) are interconnected. Hauliers may pay tolls charged under the systems separately, or register for Toll2GO service and have their tolls billed via a single Toll Collect on-board unit. A vast majority of transport companies choose the latter option.

Which vehicles have to pay toll charges?

The obligation to pay toll charges in Germany depends on the weight and intended use of a vehicle. Tolls are imposed on all goods carrying vehicles with a maximum authorised gross weight of over 12 tonnes. E-toll is also collected on empty lorries with a maximum authorised gross weight of over 12 tonnes.

Federal and emergency vehicles (used by the police, fire service, ambulance service and the like) are toll-exempt. Also buses are toll-free vehicles, subject to the prior registration.

Which roads are toll roads?

Toll charges are collected on all motorways in Germany. This also applies to municipal motorways. The complete list of e-toll roads is available at the operator’s website.

Vehicle classification

The toll is calculated on the basis of:

  • Emission class
  • Number of vehicle axles
  • Distance travelled on a toll road section

Based on an emission class each vehicle is allocated to one of four emission categories: A, B, C or D. In the event of a change in the Euro class of vehicles, their owners can re-register them to enjoy the benefits of the lower toll rates.

Classification of vehicles according to their EURO category:

Emission class Diesel engine emission standard
EEV 1 Class 6
S5 5
S4, S3 with PMK 2, 3 or 4 4
S3 without PMK, S2 with PMK 1, 2, 3 or 4 3
S2 without PMK 2
S1 and vehicles not classified to any emission class 1

How to pay?

Users of the Toll Collect system may select from among two payment options:

  • Automatic payment via an on-board unit
  • Manual payment: online or via a stationary toll-station terminal

A fuel card, e.g. DKV Euro Service, may be used in either payment mode.

Automatic e-toll payment

The automatic toll payment system is based on the combination of a mobile telecommunication technology (GSM) and a satellite navigation system (GPS). Payments are made through the Toll Collect on-board unit. Using GPS satellite signals and other positioning sensors, the OBU identifies the vehicle’s location, automatically identifies the route segment on which the vehicle is travelling and calculates the toll.

This methods is much more convenient for hauliers as the driver does not need to pre-register the route and the key vehicle information is recorded in the memory of the on-board unit.

Similarly to Polish toll payments, Toll Collect charges may be pre- or post-paid.

In the pre-paid mode the user needs to transfer an appropriate amount to the user account, which will be later debited with the sum of tolls charged for travelling on toll road sections. This requires a certain level of discipline from the driver, who must permanently monitor the balance of the Toll Collect account. This mode is recommended for companies which infrequently use German toll roads.

The post-paid method means that users do not have to worry about crediting the account in advance. Costs of individual journey segments are recorded in the Toll Collect system and billed in a single monthly invoice. This method is very convenient for companies regularly conducting their haulage business on German roads.

In order to use the automatic toll payment system, a business must first register its vehicles in the Toll Collect operator’s system. Registration forms that need to be completed may be downloaded here.

Upon registration, the company will receive a vehicle card for each lorry. Each card will include all key information about the vehicle. Then, the card user may arrange an appointment with an authorised Toll Collect Service Partner to have their OBU installed.

An on-board unit remains the property of Toll Collect, so the user does not have to pay for it. Users only pay for the installation and servicing of an OBU.

DKV offers a convenient toll billing solution for payments collected on German motorways and national trunk roads. You may choose any of the three payment methods: online, via an on-board unit, or through a terminal.

Manual toll payments

In order to pay for the toll manually, a user needs to register the planned route in one of the 3,500 toll-station terminals or via the Toll Collect website.

The terminals, marked with the “Toll Collect” sign, are located in parking areas, petrol stations and at border crossings. The terminals’ user interface is in German, English, French and Polish.

When logging in at a terminal, the driver must enter the following information:

  • Starting date and time of the journey
  • Departure location
  • Destination

On the basis of such information, the terminal calculates the shortest route in the toll road network. The user may either accept the route or modify it by selecting alternative road sections or additional waypoints.

The driver confirms the route and selects the payment method: cash, a credit card or a fuel card.  Upon payment of toll, the driver receives a receipt which needs to be kept for inspection during enforcement checks.

What’s new:

  • DKV Euro Service has introduced the “Flexibel Maut” (flexible toll) service package. Companies using the package do not pay any commission on Toll Collect payments billed and paid through DKV.
  • The on-board unit ordering process has been streamlined and now an order is processed within maximum 24 hours.
  • A haulier should only complete and send an online form which may be downloaded from http://www.toll-collect.de/pl.
  • Upon sending the form, the haulier will receive user’s number which it must present at an authorised car service in order to have the device installed in a vehicle.

Who enforces payments and how?

The Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) is responsible for prosecuting toll violations. BAG’s personnel rely on the Toll Collect system to establish whether a vehicle is subject to toll payment and if the correct amount of toll has been paid.

The automatic enforcement system is based on gantries located at roads. When a vehicle passes under a gantry, information recorded in its on-board unit is sent to the Toll Collect enforcement centre. If a vehicle is not equipped with an on-board unit, its registration number is automatically checked against a list of all manual toll payments. In this way the system recognises whether a driver has paid a relevant fee. Individual checks are also carried out by BAG’s officials.

If the toll has not been paid:

  • The toll charge will be collected retroactively
  • A fine of up to EUR 15,000 can be imposed
  • If it is not possible to accurately determine the actual distance travelled on toll roads, the toll will be collected as a fixed charge payable for travelling the distance of 500 kilometres

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