BG TOLL – Road tax in Bulgaria
In 2004, the Republic of Bulgaria made commitments to align with EU legislation and introduce the Vignette System. The aim is to improve the quality of the roads that citizens use, because the toll paid will be used only for the maintenance and repair of the Republican Road Network.
The vignette was originally on paper and was kept with the vehicle’s documents, which were presented to the control authorities on request for verification. Stickers that come into force from 2005 stick on the inside of the windscreen (right bottom corner) of the car so that they are clearly visible from the outside and do not make it difficult for the authorities to check.
In 2019 Bulgaria introduced an e-vignette and toll system as a modern way of collecting fees for using the national road network. The electronic vignette payment method has been used since 2010 in Romania, and in the Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden since 2008.
For heavy-duty vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, e-vignettes will be valid until August 15, 2019 inclusive. From August 16, 2019, a toll will be introduced for them. The toll collection system is based on state-of-the-art technologies that allow convenient means of payment and control without interfering with the free movement of road vehicles. The introduction is identified with a fair and European billing model.
A vignette fee is payable for the following road vehicles with a total technically permissible maximum mass up to or equal to 3,5 tonnes:
- motor vehicles having at least four wheels and intended for the carriage of passengers;
- motor vehicles having at least four wheels and intended for the carriage of goods;
- off-road vehicles.
Prices and categorization
Road vehicles designed to tow semi-trailers are considered to be road vehicles intended for the carriage of goods with more than 2 axles irrespective of the number of axles and whether the semi-trailer is attached or not.
Where a road vehicle is driven with a trailer coupled and where the total permissible technical mass of the combination exceeds 3,5 tonnes, an additional vignette shall be payable for the trailer for the same category of road vehicle.
Prices of e-vignettes remain unchanged for all vehicles. With the entry into force of electronic information, the need to stick a sticker on the windscreen of the car is eliminated. Drivers are not required to submit a document certifying a purchased vignette when checking by roadside controllers.
In order to carry out the toll collection activity, the Road Infrastructure Agency operates a System for electronic collection of road tolls. The system is a combination of technical means and procedures for the sale, validation and control of the regulated use of the road network.
Electronic vignettes can be purchased in several convenient ways:
- From the Internet at www.bgtoll.bg
- Via a mobile app
- Through self-shrinking terminals at retail outlets
- At the cashier at the points of sale and in the regional road offices of the Road Infrastructure Agency
- From the Internet at https://vinetki.bg – official partner of the Road Infrastructure Agency
All drivers, owners or users of road vehicles who use the paid road network without having paid the relevant fee and who have not paid a fee for using the national road network (e-vignette or subsequently a toll) are violators and should be fined.
Penalties for the use of the paid road network without a paid fee amount to BGN 3,000 for heavy goods vehicles as follows:
- A driver who manages a heavy vehicle on the paid road network for which the relevant distance-related obligations have not been met or a toll (vignette, route card or toll) has not been paid shall be punished with a fine of BGN 1,800 ;
- СThe owner of a heavy goods vehicle for which a toll has not been paid in full or in part, including as a result of incorrectly declared data (road, road, road, ) shall be liable to a fine of BGN 2500. The fine shall be imposed on the registered user of the vehicle, if any. If the owner or registered user is a legal person, a pecuniary penalty of BGN 2 500 shall be imposed;
- When using the paid road network of heavy goods vehicles without a toll and, together with this, it is illegible or closed in any way the registration number, the fine is 3000 levs.
From August 16, 2019, the owner or user of the vehicle with a total technically permissible maximum mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes is required to pay a toll fee instead of the e-vignette paid so far. This type of payment entitles the vehicle to travel a certain distance between two points of the respective road or road section. The toll shall be determined according to the technical characteristics of the road or road section, the distance traveled, the category of road vehicle, the number of axles and its ecological characteristics and shall be determined for each road or road section.
Categorization of vehicles subject to charging:
The operator will provide two payment options for using the road network:
Toll charge (with distance traveled based on GNSS on-board unit)
This product is suitable for road vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, which have more frequent or regular trips on the paid toll network.
The reporting mechanism for the purpose of tolling is through a on-board unit mounted on the vehicle, which sends the data needed to calculate the road tax due. This is based on the Global Navigation Satellite Positioning System (GNSS). The data shall be sent to the provider of the electronic toll collection service, with which the consumer has a contract. The latter, in turn, processes the received data and draws up and sends a toll statement.
This product is suitable for road vehicles over 3.5 tonnes with less frequent (single) journeys.
Owners and users of a vehicle with a total technically permissible maximum laden mass over 3,5 tonnes who do not have on-board or satellite positioning systems and concluded a contract with an electronic toll service provider, or a person operating an activity as a supplier of declared data, can use the paid road network after purchasing a route pass, also known as a route ticket. This product is based on the distance traveled within a given time period for which it is valid. It is issued on a prepayment basis, allowing a single vehicle of the above category to pass a single distance from the pay-road network, from the starting point to the end point with additional pre-indicated intermediate points, that can not be more than four.
Route passes can be purchased in several ways:
at points of sale – by cash payment, card payment, including through a fuel card;
- на терминал за самотаксуване – чрез картово разплащане, в това число и чрез карта за гориво;
- on a self-payment terminal – by card payment, including through a fuel card;
- Issuing a route card is conditional upon preliminary calculation and payment of the due toll. The road user must be registered in order to purchase a route card but is not obliged to sign a contract with a service provider related to electronic toll collection.
Tariffs and coverage of the road network
In connection with the introduction of toll charge in Bulgaria, the Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA) is in the process of determining both the tariffs and the road network, for which the fee will be charged. To this end, the RIA has concluded a contract with the World Bank, which will offer consultancy services to determine the tariffs and coverage of the toll road network. They will be proposed for public discussion and will be adopted by the Council of Ministers after prior approval by the European Commission.
The total length of the Republican Road Network (RMP) in the Republic of Bulgaria is approximately 20,000 km.
At this stage, it is envisaged to collect fees for PPPs with an ATM above 3.5 tons, on a distance basis for a part of the WPP covering 16,317,276 km, of which 736,933 km of motorways, 2,582,075 km of first-class roads, 4,067,047 km of second-class roads and 8,931,221 km of third-class roads.