Serious change in the way tolls are paid in Turkey

Serious change in the way tolls are paid in Turkey

Anyone traveling through Turkey as a holidaymaker or business-traveller in a car, truck or motorhome will encounter toll stations on the Turkish motorways that are comparable to European standards.

In Turkey, too, road tolls must be paid depending on the length of use or in the case of special constructions, such as one of the Bosphorus bridges. This does not take place in the form of a vignette, as is known from Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia or other countries, but in the form of so-called OGS devices, which must be purchased and registered for the respective vehicle, then topped up via a bank account is automatically read out at the toll stations and the amount to be paid is debited. So far so good, a functioning system, even in the Far East. However, it is hardly a worthwhile purchase for the visitor, especially since a deposit may have to be paid.

KGS system has also been replaced

maut 2Until now there was the so-called KGS card for holiday drivers or one-time users of Turkish motorways. In the format of a credit card, you could buy this card yourself at the toll booths, top it up according to the desired usage and then have the amount to be paid debited from the KGS card by a machine in a separately displayed lane. Too often we have helped Europeans out of trouble who, for example, had driven onto the highway towards Aydin near Izmir without having obtained a KGS card in advance. It is even very dangerous to enter the wrong lane, for example the OGS lane, as OGS users usually drive through the toll station at high speed and do not expect that a card user has entered the wrong way. An otherwise well-functioning system that was in operation for a few years.

Since January 1st of this year 2013, this KGS system has also been replaced by a new system. KGS cardholders can still use their existing credit, but should get the HGS card, which is similar to a vignette, as soon as possible. For this purpose, the relevant vehicle must also be registered via the toll stations. The Turkish Post PTT has taken on this task at the toll stations. If the vehicle is registered and its user is noted by providing their cell phone number, you also pay a certain amount for this, which can then be driven away. This HGS system has also been automated. When you pay the amount, e.g. 35 TL, you receive the HGS vignette, which however contains an electronic chip, stick the vignette into the interior of the vehicle at the level of the rear-view mirror and the journey can begin.

Please don't drive into the toll booth too quickly

maut 4When entering a toll motorway, the vehicle is automatically registered and then deregistered again when exiting. To do this, you drive into the HGS station at around 30 km/h. Please do not confuse it with the OGS station. You will also immediately see a green traffic light that lights up, indicating that you are free to continue your journey. The usage amount has now already been deducted from the credit. Please don't drive into the toll booth too quickly, as some radar devices are installed here and the police are already waiting in the exit area.

If you have used motorways several times, your cell phone number now comes into play. If the account balance is too low, a notification will be sent via SMS indicating that recharging is necessary. This can happen at the toll booth, at any PTT post office and/or at many banks that have joined in the distribution of the road user fee. You can also get this chip vignette long before your trip to Turkey; it is also offered in the branches of Turkish banks (Ziraat Bank) in Germany, certainly at short notice also via ADAC or other providers, and the Internet will also offer options at short notice.

maut 5So far there are only a few kilometres of motorway in Turkey, which is called “Otoyol” here and is marked with green signs. At the moment, the Turkish highway network covers around 2,036 kilometres, which is expected to be expanded to 4,773 kilometres by 2023. All motorways have at least 6 lanes, some are fully illuminated and, despite good development standards, there is a speed limit of 120 km/h. Motorways are still relatively new in Turkey. In 1980 there were only 27 kilometres of motorway in Istanbul. In Istanbul the numbering is done with single-digit numbers, in the Adana area it has two-digit numbers starting with five (A3, A4, A31, A32, A21, A51, A52 and A53). Depending on the vehicle type and size, the fee amount is only small amounts, but these have since been changed again. Here are some core values:

- Category 1 applies to motorcycles and vehicles with a wheelbase of less than 3.25 meters

- Category 2 applies to vehicles with two axles and a wheelbase of more than 3.25 meters

- Category 3 applies to vehicles with more than 3 axles

Motorway Cat. 1 Cat.2 Cat.3 Cat

Edirne – Istanbul 5.50 5.50 10.00
Istanbul – Bolu 5.50 5.50 10.00
Bolu – Ankara 2.25 2.25 4.25
Izmir – Aydin 2.75 2.75 4.25
Cesme – Izmir 1.75 1.75 4.25
Icel – Gaziantep 3.11 5.50 5.50
Ponzati – Camtepe 1.75 1.75 4.25
Erzin – Andana 1.75 1.75 3.75
Istanbul 3.25 8.00 - Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge* and Bogazici Bridge

* The fee is only charged from the European to the Asian part of Turkey. Conversely, the passage is free.

Today only these 6 motorway routes are subject to tolls; all others, including the expressways, are toll-free. The toll to be paid is calculated based on the length of use; tunnels or other expensive constructions are also toll-free. The only exceptions are the Bosphorus Bridges in Istanbul, both suspension bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in Istanbul, which connect the European part with the Asian part of the city. The bridges are only subject to toll towards the Asian side, the other way round the passage is free!

Another Turkish specialty!

The European user of Turkish motorways has certainly noticed an extraordinary peculiarity that must be urgently stopped.

- And no matter how slowly the vehicle is traveling, it uses the middle lane!

We drivers have asked about this oddity several times - but there has not yet been a plausible answer. This behaviour, which is also consistently practiced by intercity buses and many trucks, represents a very significant driving risk. Often the right lane is completely devoid of traffic for dozens of kilometres. The middle lane is heavily used and the use of the left lane by overtaking buses or trucks at least has a braking effect. It is understandable that many drivers use the free right lane to overtake.

We don't understand why there isn't a right-hand driving requirement with corresponding notices on the routes. Too often we have seen really dangerous driving manoeuvres due to this strange behaviour. Perhaps this report will also help a little to put an end to this bad habit.

Please read as well:

The Hospitallers - expansion and consequences to Europe

St Hilarion - the mighty Crusader Castle


Life | Outdoors