Details of Bulgaria’s planned new toll system for heavy vehicles

As from March 1 2020, road vehicles with a total technically permissible maximum weight exceeding 3.5 tons travelling on paid road sections in Bulgaria will have to distance-based road charges – a toll, the Foreign Ministry said in an explanatory note on its website on February 13.

The toll replaces the electronic vignette for heavy vehicles and buses.

The toll for 1 km is differentiated according to the total technically permissible maximum weight of the road vehicle, its emission class and the road category.

The total length of the roads on which heavy vehicles above 3.5 tons will pay tolls at the start of the toll system from March 1 2020 is 3 115 km. This includes 803 km of motorways and 2 312 km of first class roads.

The choice of satellite technology enables Bulgaria to charge fees on the entire national road network, including roads of a lower class.

The state transfers to its partners – private companies, the risk associated with the initial investment for the commercial operation of the system, the Foreign Ministry said. Private companies have to invest in on-board units, systems for communication and data exchange with the toll system, opening and maintenance of thousands of points for sale and supply of units to customers.

An agreement for tolling with an on-board unit can be concluded with a company that is a national toll service provider. It will provide an on-board unit for each of the trucks or buses, which will take into account the user-driven toll segments. The conditions and frequency of the payment will depend on the terms of the contract.

If the vehicle is equipped with a GPS tracker and the owner wants it to be used for tolling, it should be checked whether the company-provider of the GPS tracker has a contract with a national service provider. If this is the case, a toll contract may be concluded with the relevant company.

Information about the use of on-board units and GPS trackers is provided by the partners of the Bulgarian Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA) – the National Toll Service Providers. The register of the companies having contracts with RIA is in the section “About us” on the website

For the payment of tolls, carriers with a smaller fleet can benefit from the so-called route pass.

The route pass is a pre-paid service — an initial and a final point of the route are chosen, as well as up to four interim points, as an option.

The pass can be activated by 11.59pm on the day following the purchase, if the user is not registered in the system and up to seven days in advance if the user is registered with an e-mail address. The driver shall have 24 hours from the moment of activation of the route pass to pass through the intended route by following the strictly selected points.

The route pass will be available for purchase via the existing channels for sale of e-vignettes:

–          the website of the National Toll Administration

–          the mobile app BGTOLL

–          self-service terminal bearing the logo of BGTOLL –

–          at the counters of 27 regional road administrations in the country

–          at sale points bearing the BGTOLL logo , located at the main border crossing points — Kalotina, Kapitan Andreevo, Kulata, Danube bridge — Rousse, Danube Bridge — Vidin, Silistra, Stanke Lisickovo and Ilinden.

After the start of the toll system on March 1, the heavy vehicles will be equipped with on-board units and GPS trackers, the Foreign Ministry said.

By the end of the year, all heavy vehicles could, in theory, drive with electronic devices. In the first months of operation of the toll system in Bulgaria, it is expected, together with the local on-board units, to ensure the integration of internationally valid on-board units operating on the territory of the European Union.

An integral part of each toll system is effective enforcement, the statement said.

In the event that the vehicle is circulating on the paid network without a pre-bought route pass for the relevant section or without being equipped with an on-board unit or a valid GPS tracker or the equipment is not switched on or not transmitting data in real time, the electronic system will take into account that infringement. The driver is required to stop upon signal from the mobile toll control, in accordance with Article 167a, para 2, point 1 of the Road Traffic Act.

The controlling authorities propose a payment of a compensatory charge, which can be done on the spot with a bank card via POS terminal. The payment enables the infringer to avoid an administrative penalty for the infringement in question.

If the driver refuses to pay a compensatory charge, an act establishing an administrative offence is drawn up. He has to pay the so-called maximum toll to continue his journey. The amount depends on the total technically permissible maximum weight of the vehicle and its emission class.

The compensatory charge may be paid within a period of 14 days by bank transfer and the payment order must indicate the number of the act establishing an administrative offence. In the event of of non-payment, the infringer will receive a penalty order and will be liable to pay a fine, the statement said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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