In Portugal there are two toll systems, the traditional one with barriers, where you have to stop to get the ticket and pay at the end of the journey, and then there are some motorways without these barriers, where you just get onto the toll road and don't pay at the end of the route. This is where the confusion starts with many people filing to pay tolls because they are simply unsure how to.

This is exactly what happened to Matthew Foster when, in December 2020, he passed along a motorway in the Coimbra region. He didn't realise it was “a toll gate, as there was no barrier or payment booths. Not thinking anything of it, we proceeded on our way”.

From €4 to €200

That was the beginning of an unfortunate series of events. A simple toll worth around €4 has now converted into a fine of about €200. “Currently this 'debt' stands at around €200, which started from a toll fee of around €4.70”, he told The Portugal News.

According to Matthew, he moved to another city in Portugal the following month which led to one of the reasons as to why he didn’t receive the initial fine. Although he notified "the finance office and the car registration department about our new address shortly after moving here”, the letters have never arrived.

It was only in November 2021, that he received a 'fine' on his Portal das Finanças, of more than €80, without even knowing where it came from. “After investigating what this was for, it turned out to be from Via-Verde/Brisa - the private company that owns the toll road I was on in Coimbra”.

Matthew told The Portugal News that he called, emailed and complained to several entities involved, however, this didn’t prevent the fine from getting bigger. “I received an email response from pagamento de portagens - the entity Brisa asked me to email - which in essence stipulated that I must pay it because it had gone past the legal deadline, even though I only found out one month prior!”

Indeed, this is not an unusual situation. It can happen to anyone travelling on one of the following roads: A17, A25, A29, A4, A41, A42, A28, A22, A23 and A24.

ON these toll roads, there are sensors set up along the roads which automatically charge a road user without the need for even a ticket.

Where can I pay the tolls?

Firstly, you will have to wait about two days after using the highway and only after that will the system allow you to pay the fee.

Then, if you have the car registered in Portugal, the toll can be paid in person at any Payshop or at the post office, however, after these 48 hours you only have five days to pay. You can also use the CTT app or CTT’s website. Otherwise, they will send a letter over to you with the amount to pay (with a little increase) that you must pay to avoid the amount rising even more. If you have a foreign registered vehicle, you can pay for a toll card at a post office or CTT’s website, or pay for it through Via Verde visitors or any other service.

If you want to avoid any situation like the one above, check the CTT website, write down your car's registration number and check out if you have any tolls left to pay at https://www.ctt.pt/particulares/pagamentos/pagar-servicos-portagens/portagens/