Technical preparations for the expansion of the truck toll are proceeding according to plan. For toll collection on all federal trunk roads, the truck toll system underwent technical upgrades. This affects automatic and manual toll collection as well as enforcement and allows the truck toll in Germany to be extended to all federal trunk roads from 1 July 2018. The toll requirement currently applies to trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 7.5 tonnes or more on approximately 15,000 kilometres of motorway and selected federal trunk roads. During the extension of the toll requirement to all federal trunk roads that started mid-year, the toll road network will grow to around 52,000 kilometres.
Estimates suggest that the vehicles of around 30,000 companies from various sectors will be affected by the toll requirement. Companies should use the remaining time until 1 July 2018 to check whether they have vehicles or vehicle combinations with a gross vehicle weight of 7.5 tonnes or more in their fleet and then decide how they wish to pay the toll in future.
The automatic log-on process
Toll collection via the automatic log-on process with the On-Board Unit remains the most convenient way to pay toll charges. From October 2017 to the end of March 2018, the currently 1.1 million On-Board Units for automatic toll collection were gradually converted from the decentralised system to centralised toll collection. The On-Board Units send time-delayed and encrypted journey data, and vehicle features relevant to the toll, to the Toll Collect computer centre. The toll for the route sections subject to toll that the truck travelled on is calculated there. Transport companies and drivers can view information about individual journeys on the customer portal under “Non-invoiced journeys” after 48 hours at the latest – usually sooner. Subsequent cost allocation is made easier if cost centres are assigned on the OBU for individual journeys and customers.
New weight classes visible since 1 June 2018
As part of the further development, it was technically possible to differentiate the toll according to additional weight classes.
From 1 June 2018, the new weight classes will be visible on the On-Board Units:
- < 7.5 tonnes
- ≥ 7.5 tonnes – 11.99 tonnes
- ≥ 12 tonnes – 18 tonnes
- > 18 tonnes
The gross vehicle weight stated during registration is saved permanently in the On-Board Unit. The weight must be adjusted if a trailer has been connected or disconnected.
The currently valid toll rates will initially remain in force after 1 July 2018. The incorrect selection and setting of one of the weight classes between 7.5 tonnes and > 18 tonnes will not be prosecuted for the time being. The driver's obligations to cooperate remain the same in the interim. The current number of axles still needs to be entered if it deviates from the number of axles personalised on the OBU. The valid rates can be found at www.toll-collect.de and apply on motorways and federal trunk roads.
The German Federal Trunk Road Toll Act (BFStrMG) will be adapted as quickly as possible based on a new report on infrastructure costs. This will result in new toll rates and obligations to cooperate. According to the new report on infrastructure costs, the introduction of new weight classes is possible, and it is the government's intention to do so.
The further developed manual log-on process offers various options for paying the toll charges in future. The toll still must be paid before the start of the journey. Manual log-on is possible on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets via the Toll Collect app. In addition, it is possible to log on via stationary PCs or 1,100 new toll terminals. The new toll terminals supplement the online log-on.
An easy to understand and intuitive menu system helps the customer to pay the toll quickly and reliably. The same user interface will be used regardless of whether the customer is logging on via a smartphone, a tablet, a stationary PC or a toll terminal. It will adjust to the relevant device and will be easier to use. The log-on is possible in German, English, French and Polish.
Each customer can use any available manual log-on method without having to register with Toll Collect in advance. In addition, the new manual log-on process offers another service to non-registered customers: When setting up a log-on account, it is possible to save information regarding the vehicles that are frequently logged on manually, frequently travelled routes and payment methods.
In future, enforcement pillars will check whether the toll requirement has been complied with on federal trunk roads. The enforcement pillars supplement mobile enforcement by the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG). Enforcement gantries will not be erected on federal trunk roads. The enforcement pillars will feature similar technological capabilities as the enforcement gantries installed on motorways. The approximately 600 enforcement pillars, which are four metres high and blue/green, check whether passing vehicles are subject to toll and have paid the toll charges properly.