The introduction of new tolls on many major routes throughout Portugal has never gone smoothly. The dreaded SCUTs – as the auto-toll overhead gantries are known – have had campaigners up in arms, especially since they were introduced in the Algarve on the only major road that is used by everyone in the region.
The Government this week announced a 15% discount in fees on tolls around the country, but this came with a catch because exemptions and discounts for residents were also removed.
Algarve Daily News said the drop in toll fees “applies on tolled routes on the Silver Coast (A17 and A29), Porto (A4, A41 and A42), North Coast (A28), Algarve (A22), Beira Interior (A23), North Interior (A24) and Beira Litoral/Beira Alta (A25)”.
The most embarrassing aspect of the whole introduction of SCUT tolls in Portugal is the payment of more than €700 million of taxpayer money to the holding companies of the roads. Tha majority of this cash, says Algarve Daily News, went to Spain at a time when Portugal had to account for how it was spending money it received from the IMF and the EU.
The saga will continue. For tourists, carry on as normal – you just pay slightly less as you drive around.