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1 toll box for 4 Southern European countries
1 toll box for 4 Southern European countries

1 toll box for 4 Southern European countries

Freeontour's partner Bip&Go has an electronic toll payment badge that works at toll stations in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy
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FREEONTOUR

Author: Freeontour, Header image: Claudia Rothkamp

Latest update: May 24th, 2024 

When it comes to tolls and vignettes, many countries in Europe have their own rules – and unfortunately different toll systems as well. When on holiday, you often have no choice but to queue at the toll station while enviously observing the vehicles in the fast lanes with electronic billing. If you regularly like to travel to France, Italy, Spain and/or Portugal with your caravan or motorhome, you too can use the Bip&Go transponder and enjoy the fast lane. Their toll badge, which Freeontour members can purchase at a reduced price, is compatible with all four countries and simplifies travel.

A transponder for motorhomes and caravans

The four-country toll transponder from Bip&Go opens toll barriers in France for cars, caravans and motorhomes weighing up to 3.5 t, but less than 3 m high. Larger motorhomes can also benefit from electronic toll payment in Spain, Portugal and Italy with the four-country toll transponder. You simply attach the holder to the upper part of the windscreen near the rear-view mirror and insert the Europe badge, which can then be read at toll stations in the above-mentioned countries or on free-flow motorways in Portugal.

Once installed, you will receive a monthly bill for any toll fees incurred. Unfortunately, the Bip&Go toll badge cannot be used in France for motorhomes heavier than 3.5 t or higher than 3 m. The original vehicle height is decisive for calculating the height – "loose" devices fitted on the roof such as roof boxes or satellite antennas are, therefore, not included in the calculation.

Why does the transponder for motorhomes over 3.5 t only work in Italy, Spain and Portugal?

In most countries, the toll costs are calculated on the distance travelled or a specific time frame and the respective vehicle category. These categories are defined differently by the transport ministries in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. While in Spain the focus is on the number of axles, in Portugal and Italy the vehicle height on the first axle also matters. In France, however, the vehicle category is based on the weight and total height of the vehicle. As a result, the Bip&Go toll badge can be used for all vehicle categories in Italy, Spain and Portugal, but only for vehicle categories 1, 2 and 5 in France. The majority of motorhomes and caravans in France fall into vehicle category 2. If you drive a camping vehicle heavier than 3.5 t or, for example, an alcove motorhome higher than 3 m, you cannot use the toll box in France and will have to queue at the toll station. As for car/caravan combinations, the weight of the towing vehicle is key.

Can the Bip&Go toll badge also be used for free-flow systems in Italy and Portugal?

The short answer is yes. You can use the Bip&Go toll badge on roads and motorways with the free-flow system in Italy and Portugal and the toll fees will be automatically deducted. This applies to all vehicle categories: you won't even notice nor will you need to stop or reduce your speed – but only if you have registered your vehicle along with its number plate for the Bip&Go toll badge. If you use it in different vehicles, you will have to register each number plate in the Bip&Go customer area before you travel. It takes about 24 hours for the new number plate to be recorded in all systems.

How much does the Bip&Go badge cost?

The four-country transponder for France, Spain, Portugal and Italy costs a once-only fee of €14 plus shipping. Freeontour members can benefit from a one-time discount of €5 on the price of a toll badge when ordered on the Bip&Go website by entering the code BIPFREEONTOUR (in the promotion field). The transponder will then be delivered by post within ten days of the order being placed.

Incidentally: the toll transponders are not vehicle specific and you may, therefore, move your badge from one vehicle to another, be it your car, motorhome or motorbike. For technical reasons, however, you have to give the registration number, which you can manage and change yourself in the Bip&Go customer portal whenever you want. For Portugal and Italy, you will also need to enter or change the respective number plate in the customer portal as there are also throughways without toll stations.

What does it cost to use the transponder?

There are two billing models for private individuals for using the toll badges: occasional use and frequent use. If you only drive a few months a year on toll roads in France, Spain, Portugal or Italy, your best choice is the Pay As You Go subscription plan as a fee is only charged in the months in which the toll badge is actually used. For France, this is €1.70 per month driven (as of June 1st, 2024: 1.90 €), in the other three countries €2.50. The frequent use model has a flat annual fee for France of €16 plus the above mentioned monthly fees for use in other countries if used. Moreover, you will have to pay the tolls for the routes you drive in the respective countries. These are billed or debited once a month via your customer account.

Please note: if you think that you are not going to be using your transponder for at least 14 months, you should cancel your subscription and send the toll badge back to Bip&Go. Otherwise, a non-use fee of €10 will be charged in the 15th month.

Do existing transponders have to be exchanged?

If you have an older Bip&Go toll transponder for France and Spain, you can also use it for Portugal without having to purchase a new toll badge. The old toll box has the advantage of being slightly smaller than the new four-country badge. But if you also want to use the transponder in Italy, you will have to exchange your old toll badge for the four-country transponder. You can do so in the Bip&Go customer portal under the "My Badges" menu item. It costs €12 for a 3-country badge and €16 for a 4-country badge, including shipping. The amount will be debited from your bank account by direct debit.

Video: Which lane should I take at the toll station for my vehicle?

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