The new toll system in Croatia will go into operation in two years at the earliest

NEWS 26.02.202414:45 0 komentara
Hrvoje Jelavic/PIXSELL

The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure has been announcing the introduction of a new method of toll collection on Croatian motorways for years. Last year, things finally got moving when a tender for this work was announced.

The Czech company Tollnet and the Slovakian company SkyToll, which already have several similar projects behind them, including the e-vignette system used in Slovenia, were selected in the tender for the creation of a new toll system. Their offer of 79.91 million euros plus VAT was the most economically favourable, but two appeals were lodged against the decision.

Minister Oleg Butkovic has set 2025 as the deadline, but as things currently stand, the new toll system will not go into operation until the second quarter of 2026. And that is the best-case scenario, writes the daily Novi list.

However, if the State Commission for the Protection of Market Competition (DKOM) accepts the appeal of the Austrian Kapsch TrafficCom against the decision on the selection of the contractor, it will postpone the introduction of the new system indefinitely.

The price is much higher than estimated

In the tender itself, the estimated value of the works was increased from 500 million kuna to 100 million euros, which is about fifty per cent higher than the Ministry’s original estimates, and the deadline for the introduction of the new system was extended to two years. And that is two years from the date of signing the contract with the contractor. Even if the DKOM does not accept the Austrians’ appeal, this realistically means that the contract with SkyToll could be signed sometime in April this year and the new billing system would be introduced before the tourist season in 2026 at the earliest.

The Croatian Motorways (HAC) already received offers in July last year. It is therefore unclear why the state-owned company that manages the motorways took almost seven months to select the best of the ten bids received.

“The contractor’s obligation is to create a system project (‘Design and Build’), carry out the administrative procedure and obtain all the necessary permits, as well as carry out all the work to install the gantries and equipment on the motorways under traffic conditions. The two-year period includes a two-month test phase,” explained HAC, the investor in the project.

A new system with existing technology

The new toll system should use two existing technologies already in use worldwide, namely DSRC technology (radio communication at 5.8 GHz) for collecting tolls from users of ENC devices and ALPR technology (vehicle licence plate recognition) for collecting tolls from occasional users for light vehicles and monitoring toll payment for all vehicles.

The new charging system is based on the free movement of vehicles that no longer need to stop to collect tolls, which should significantly increase traffic flow and eliminate the need for toll booths. The system will operate on the principle of charging on the basis of actual kilometres driven on the Croatian motorway network, with each kilometre driven on one of the motorways in the HAC network costing the same, which is not currently the case.

The system should work on all motorways, both on motorways managed by Croatian Motorways and on concessionary motorways – the Istrian Upsilon and the Zagreb-Macelj motorway.

The decision on the choice of SkyToll and TollNet was contested by the Austrians, but also by the Chinese (CTFO Jeton Technology), while the appeal of the Chinese company was rejected as inadmissible because it had not provided DKOM with proof of payment of 66,000 euros as compensation for the appeal proceedings.

However, Kapsch and Spinne Traffic’s appeal is still pending. The consortium has appealed on three grounds. The most problematic reason could be that the experts of the selected bidder are not qualified to implement the system as it is to be introduced in Croatia, which was one of the conditions of the tender. If DKOM accepts this objection, the question arises as to how long the introduction of the new toll system will take.

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