Saturday, 19 February 2011

Tolls on the A22 - Via de Infante - Algarve - Further Commentary

By mid April 2010, it is likely that electronic tolls will be introduced on the A22, Via de Infante, which is the main arterial motorway linking Spain with the western Algarve.

In recent years, the number of Spanish tourists from Seville, Huelva and western Andalucia who have used this motorway for day or week-end trips and spent a lot of money in local restaurants has been very beneficial to the struggling local economy.

I am not against tolls, as I understand that Portugal needs to financing its debt, but I cannot understand the madness of not having some "pay as you go" human manned motorway payment system for tourists and visitors driving into and in Portugal.

In the Algarve, the only realistic alternative route to the A22, the EN125 will be choked solid year round from April onwards.

I am, therefore, now recommending to tourists and visitor that they should not drive to and from the Algarve full stop, if they are in a hire car or foreign car and plan using motorways.

The Algarve has been one of the main "economic engines" of the Portugal for many years now. The implementation of an electronic toll system that tourists and foreigners, (especially, day visitors from Spain) will find hard to understand and use, is economic insanity, at a time, when the region is already suffering badly from the economic crisis,

If you are thinking of visiting the Algarve from April onwards, be prepared for long drives on old slow alternative routes, or fly into Lisbon, spend a couple of days there, and then come on down to the Algarve by bus or train and hire a car locally when you arrive.
Avoid Faro Airport in high season as the exits onto the EN125 are likely to be choked as people try to avoid using the A22 motorway with its electronic tolls..