Berlin gives all clear for truck tolls

15th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 December 2004, BERLIN - German authorities gave the all-clear on Wednesday for a private company to begin collecting tolls from trucks using all 12,000 kilometres of the autobahn network starting on 1 January. The electronic system, which includes a quarter of a million computers in trucks as well as cameras over the roads to catch cheats, will begin operating 16 months late after technical problems. German Transport Minister Manfred Stolpe said he had no plans to impose charges on cars using the motorw

15 December 2004

BERLIN - German authorities gave the all-clear on Wednesday for a private company to begin collecting tolls from trucks using all 12,000 kilometres of the autobahn network starting on 1 January.

The electronic system, which includes a quarter of a million computers in trucks as well as cameras over the roads to catch cheats, will begin operating 16 months late after technical problems.

German Transport Minister Manfred Stolpe said he had no plans to impose charges on cars using the motorway network.

There will be no grace period. Highway patrols will pull over trucks that drive without paying from the beginning, Stolpe said.

The clearance came from the Federal Road Freight Agency, the body supervising the work of the Toll Collect company, which has a concession to collect 12 euro cents per kilometre, take a cut for itself and pass the rest of the money on to the federal government.

The agency has spent weeks checking that the system works and to avoid the embarrassment of the first launch, which had to be called off at the last moment at the end of August 2003.

For most trucks, the charging will be automatic, with a computer in the truck working out from satellite signals where the truck has travelled and sending the data by mobile-phone frequency to a national computer.

Other drivers will be able to pay via vending machines, mobile phone or a special website. More than 5,000 counsellors have been appointed to help foreign and local drivers get used to the scheme.

Toll Collect's main owners are the Deutsche Telekom phone company and the DaimlerChrysler automotive group. Toll Collect has authority to stop trucks if the fee has not been paid.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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