Changes to the Toll Decree in 2018
Effective as of 1 January 2018, fundamental regulatory changes are introduced with regards to the use of the Hungarian toll road network. The primary objective of the amendment to the Toll Decree (Decree 36/2007 (III. 26.) of the Ministry of Economy and Transport (GKM)) is to eliminate the administrative pitfalls that have functioned as sanctions against those bona fide road users who are willing to pay for the service but fail to do so due to lack of attention or awareness. In compliance with the legislators’ intention, this is a huge step towards a more user-friendly user charge (e-vignette) system, which is in line with the Hungarian government’s strategy to establish a service-oriented and customer-friendly state.
The new and amended provisions of the Toll Decree have been drafted based on years of experience with the e-vignette system as well as feedback from road users and professional organizations. With two exceptions, the changes shall become effective as of 1 January 2018. It is important to note that e-vignette prices will not change as a result of the amended Toll Decree.
Please find an overview of the key changes below.
No fine can be imposed during the 60 minutes preceding the purchase of the e-vignette.
If road users have not purchased the necessary road use authorization in advance, they have 60 minutes to do so from entering the toll road network. This rule prevents the imposition of a fine on those who inadvertently enter the toll road network. It also allows for the adjustment of the journey plan to the road user’s actual needs instead of to where they can purchase the e-vignette before the entry. Pursuant to this new rule, the validity period of road use authorizations practically starts in the 60th minute before the time of purchase.
Modification of the rules on maximizing fines
The Toll Decree has already had strict provisions on the option of maximizing fines, i.e. enabling a road user with more than two fines payable registered for the same period to pay a maximized fine equal to two base fines instead. Under the previous regulation, road users had to request the application of such maximized fine within 15 calendar days after receiving the payment notice letter. Experience of the past years indicate that the short deadline resulted in many road users missing out on this opportunity. As a result, the amended Toll Decree now grants 75 days for submitting the application. At the same time, the previous limit of one application for a maximized fine per registration number per year has also been abolished. For more information, see menu item Excess charge>>.
Introduction of a
There are still many road users who select the wrong vehicle category when purchasing e-vignettes. Their mistake is typically due to the routine rather than malice. Should a motor vehicle be found to have an e-vignette of a lower vehicle category than required, the road user will now have to pay a lower fine than before. In the most common scenario, i.e. when an e-vignette is purchased for vehicle category D1 instead of D2, the new fine is approximately half of what it used to be (HUF 7,500 instead of HUF 14,875). For more information on discount differential fines, see the table under menu item Excess charge>>.
Extension of the deadline for fine payment
As an important change, road users now have 60 days instead of 30 days to pay the base fine. The extension of the deadline enables road users to pay the fine after receiving substantial and personalized information, without facing sanctions. In addition, the new regulation provides more time for managing administrative affairs, it allows for a more convenient handling of user errors, and it can help avoid fines due to mistakes (e.g. wrong registration number).
Discounts for large families raising 3 or more children
With this amendment, families receiving family allowance for 3 (instead of 4) children shall be eligible for partial exemption, i.e. to purchase D1 road use authorization for their vehicle in category D2. The discount is still subject to registration; however, the new regulation is more lenient with those failing to comply with this administrative obligation, since subsequent registration is permitted for a service fee (to be paid within 90 days from the date of receipt of the payment notice). For more information, see menu item Exemptions>>.
Less severe sanctions for unauthorized road use stretching over to the following calendar day
The fine for unauthorized road use may only be imposed once per registration number and calendar day. If the short-term road use of the vehicle travelling the toll road network stretches over to the next calendar day (i.e. the journey started before midnight and ended after midnight), the previous regulation imposed two fines. The amendment to the Toll Decree stipulates that if the period between the first and last detection of unauthorized road use stretching over to the next calendar day is not longer than 60 minutes, only one fine can be imposed. This less severe sanction may only be applied if the enforcement system did not register any additional unauthorized road use on the days of the first and last detections.
There are two important changes in this regard. On the one hand, the service fee for a single administrative case is now payable only once. For instance, when the registration number needs to be corrected, the procedural fee shall not be charged for each character but only once. On the other hand, the services provided by NTPS Plc. and their use have been significantly simplified. For more information, see menu item Customer services>>.
Newly introduced regulation of road use authorizations that need to be purchased due to outage
Another important new provision is the introduction of the regulation of outages, which essentially means that no fines can be imposed for a minimum of 60 minutes after any planned or unplanned outage of the road use authorization sales system. The official time of the end of the outage shall be as it is published on the website of NTPS Plc.
Introduction of a discount monthly vignette for motorcycles effective from 1 May 2018
Weekly vignettes for motorcycles have already been available at half price. The mid-year legislative change will allow for the purchase of a discount monthly road use authorization by the beginning of the motorcycle season. The new product will be priced at HUF 2,500, inclusive of VAT.
For more information about the changes, see the respective menu items of the website.
Decrees effective as of 1 January 2018
- Decree 36/2007 (III. 26.) of the Ministry of Economy and Transport (GKM) on the tolls payable for the use of motorways, expressways and main roads
- Decree 37/2007 (III. 26.) of the Ministry of Economy and Transport (GKM) on toll motorways, expressways and main roads
Lots of changes in the motorway toll payment system from January
Motorway tolls have not changed for the past six years; pre-purchasing of the annual authorization continued to be popular in 2017 as well, and regional vignettes are sold in increasing numbers. A number of rules will be more customer-friendly from 1 January, and discount monthly vignettes will be available for motorcycles from May.
The prices unchanged since 2012 will not increase in 2018 either, thus our customers can continue to purchase the well-known vignette types for the same price as in the past 6 years. The new year will only add two new toll sections opened to the public in December: the closing phase of the M85 Csorna bypass and the new section of M35 past Debrecen.
Regional vignettes continued to be popular in 2017 with more than 1.7 million vignettes sold for HUF 9.3 billion. The popularity of the e-vignette sold at an extremely favourable price is showcased by the 13.7% year-over-year increase in sales. With the connection of the Szombathely highway section, motorists could purchase a regional vignette for Vas county for the first time in 2017, of which 36,000 were sold during the first year.
The popular convenience service introduced last year was available throughout the last month of the year: the sale of national annual and regional e-vignettes for 2018 commenced as early as 1 December. According to the records of the National Toll Payment Services (NTPS) Plc., more than 94 thousand road use authorizations have been sold prior to the start of their validity periods so far, to a total value of HUF 1.58 billion.
As of 1 January 2018, a number of new provisions, designed to reduce motorists’ costs and administrative burdens, will be introduced in the e-vignette system. Certain provisions that significantly simplify administrative procedures will have to be applied to cases already in progress.
For instance, one of the most important measures enables motorists inadvertently entering a toll section to purchase the e-vignette after they started their journey. The new rule stipulates that road users will have 60 minutes to purchase road use authorization from the time they enter the toll road network. It is still recommended to purchase e-vignettes in person or electronically before you start your journey. However, in the future, bona fide road users can avoid fines by purchasing the appropriate authorization within one hour after entering the toll road.
Previously, the base fine of HUF 14,875 imposed for unauthorized road use increased to HUF 59,500 after only 30 days. The amendment to the relevant decree extends this grace period to 60 days. If the vehicle has a valid authorization for a lower vehicle category than the one applicable to it, only the HUF 7,500 differential fine applies if paid within 60 days.
If more than two fines were imposed on a road user in the period from the unauthorized road use to the receipt of the first payment notice, they can request the maximization of fines to the amount of two base fines or differential fines applicable to the specific vehicle. The operator now has 75 days to submit such petition in contrast to the previous 15-day period. The petition may be submitted several times a year for the same registration number. If requested by a natural person obliged to pay a fine, the system operator may, in the future, grant the option of instalment payments if the payment of the fine as a lump sum imposed a significant financial burden on the specific road user.
2018 will be the year of families; therefore, from January not only families with four but also those with three children can register their D2 vehicle category passenger cars to be able to purchase discount road use authorizations.
So far missing, discount monthly vignettes will be sold for motorcycles. The new product will become available in May for HUF 2,500, i.e. at a relatively low price compared to the weekly authorization sold at HUF 1,470.
For more details about further favourable changes, visit the website of the National Toll Payment Services Plc. (http://toll-charge.hu/)