A long road to e-TOLL

NIK about implementing the new national toll system

Potential proceeds of the National Road Fund went down by the estimated PLN 537 million because of over 2-year delays in launching a new national toll system (e-TOLL). As a result over 1000 km were not added to the toll road network in 2019. The e-TOLL system replaced the viaTOLL system operating since 2011. The new system was implemented in June 2021, although works on its modules were not completed and it did not make sure all vehicles were charged for driving on toll roads. As a consequence,  the operation of the old viaTOLL system was extended by three years and the e-TOLL system operated at the same time. According to estimates that situation generated unnecessary costs exceeding PLN 73 million. NIK stands in a position that despite the delay and losses, as a result of decisions taken by the government administration an optimal concept of the e-TOLL system operation was developed.  

The electronic toll charge for vehicles or groups of vehicles with the maximum authorised mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes and buses using public roads was implemented in Poland in July 2011 and was collected in the viaTOLL system. That charge replaced the previously collected vignettes, the level of which was determined by the duration of using public roads. In the manual system the charges were collected from vehicles or groups of vehicles with the maximum authorised mass below 3.5 tonnes. The General Director for National Roads and Motorways allocated tolling to Kapsch consortium selected in a tender.

At the turn of 2017 and 2018, the NIK audit showed that the government administration was not prepared for tolling after 2 November 2018.

In April 2014, works were started to impose tolls on light vehicles, such as motorcycles or passenger cars. As a result of changing the Act on Public Roads, the design and implementation of the e-TOLL system by January 2021 was entrusted to the Chief Inspector of Road Transport. Another change to the Act was about appointing the Head of National Revenue Administration as toll collector starting January 2021. Finally, the e-TOLL system took over the entire toll collection from 1 October 2021.

Delayed kick-off of the system and lack of proper service quality

The new system was launched in June 2021, that is with over 2-year delay. Following the turmoil related to appointing an entity responsible for tolling and construction of the new system, this responsibility was finally entrusted to the Head of the National Revenue Administration.

The system was implemented although works on individual modules were not finished. Initially the system did not ensure tolling of light vehicles on highways. Besides, the system did not enable payments of electronic tolls using fleet cards and did not allow using the European electronic toll collection service (EETS), i.e. a tool for toll collection in the EU, using one device installed in a vehicle. As there were problems with proper service level of the e-TOLL, the previous system operated twice as long as it should have. For three months both systems operated simultaneously. As a consequence, the State Treasury covered extra costs of viaTOLL functioning in the estimated amount of PLN 73.6 million. An advantage of that situation was that the tolling continuity was maintained.

Optimal selection of the tolling concept

According to NIK the new tolling concept was the best solution for Poland, especially in terms of the target length of roads to be covered by the satellite-based toll system. The new system facilitated making changes to the toll tariff and increased traffic capacity on toll highways.

From November 2018 to July 2020, the entity responsible for the functioning and development of the new national toll system was the Chief Inspector of Road Transport. He did not manage to implement the system by the end of 2020, though.

On 1 July 2020, the Act changing the Act on Public Roads came into force which brought about significant changes in tolling provisions. Among other things, under the new law the person responsible for toll collection was the Head of the National Revenue Administration (NRA) who took over the duties of the Chief Inspector of Road Transport. The change did not help implement the new toll system by the initial deadline. It made sure, though, that despite the COVID-19 epidemic the proceeds of the National Road Fund due to tolls for driving on national roads in 2020 were close to the assumptions (nearly PLN 2 billion), whereas in the first half of 2021 they exceeded PLN 1 billion and were 3.3% higher than scheduled. NIK positively evaluates measures taken by the Minister of Finance and the Head of NRA.

As a result of changes to the Act on Public Roads, the date of viaTOLL shutdown was postponed twice and so the system maintenance totalled PLN 178.6 million extra.

Distribution of on-board units (OBUs)

The on-board units were distributed by private entrepreneurs (although originally that should have been the task of NRA). Besides, just before the e-TOLL system was launched, there were not enough OBUs. The reason why NRA withdrew from OBU distribution was the need to announce a tender, which would delay the system kick-off by 1.5 years minimum. That decision protected the State Treasury’s tasks, yet it was unfavourable for transport companies that could not use other electronic tools available in the e-TOLL system to pay tolls.


NIK made the following recommendations to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Funds and Regional Policy – Chair of the Steering Committee for the e-TOLL System of the National Revenue Administration:

  • the said Steering Committee should, following public consultations, make analyses to verify:
    • the impact on road traffic safety of electronic tolls paid by heavy vehicle drivers via the mobile application e-TOLL and devices of the system used by the carrier to gather geolocation data,
    • market availability of OBUs distributed by private entrepreneurs under commercial principles,
    • development of solutions related to the OBU distribution in case of their low availability.
  • both Ministers should implement – in consultation with the Minister of Infrastructure – legislative works to amend the Act on Public Roads in terms of imposing an obligation on tolling entities to offer toll collection devices in cars, regardless of the system used for electronic tolling.

Article informations

Date of creation:
18 November 2022 14:58
Date of publication:
18 November 2022 14:58
Published by:
Marta Połczyńska
Date of last change:
18 November 2022 14:58
Last modified by:
Marta Połczyńska
A truck driving on a highway under the toll gate © Shutterstock

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