A judge ruled in favour of an operating company after a campaign was launched across Spain to encourage drivers to refuse to pay tolls on the motorway network.
This is the first time a driver has been prosecuted through the courts for continual none payment of tolls, resulting in the driver being forced to pay 358 euro plus interest. The orchestrated campaign under the slogan “no vull pagar”, encouraging drivers to refuse to pay, spread through social network sites after a number of drivers believed the fees to be unfair on account of the huge debts owed by the operators to the public purse.
In the ruling, the judge has confirmed that the toll road operators are justified in charging for the use of the network in order to offset the costs of construction, management and maintenance. In this particular case, the driver had avoided paying tolls on 60 occasions between April and August of 2012, on the C-32 and AP-7 motorway.
The defendant admitted during the trial to have joined the network with “no intention of paying” but claimed to have only done so on 8 occasions. The evidence provided by the concessionaire showed that there were many more: 56 in the case of the barriers of the C-32 and 4 in the case of the AP-7.
Therefore, the man, who lives in Barcelona, must pay 358 euros plus interest to the operator, as well as paying the legal fees. Of the 358 euro, 318 corresponds to the amount of tolls not paid at the time and 40 are by way of damages for administrative expenses.
For genuine cases, there is an established protocol in place for dealing with drivers who have no immediate means of payment. In this circumstance, the toll booth operator would take a copy of the driver´s identity documents and the vehicle´s details and issue a notice to the driver with details of a bank account to pay into within a specified time.
Failure to pay would then result in the driver being reported for an offence. Repeat offenders face having their vehicle immobilised until the Guardia Civil arrive to deal with the driver. However, in genuine cases, if payment is made in time, there is not likely to be any future issues.