I received the following from Magbaz travels and I thought it would be useful to some forum members.
6 October 2013
The Polish Via Toll Box System – A Reprise
Following Brenda and Adrian Wilson’s horrifying experience of the new Polish system of road tolls in May this year, motorhomers Ian and Judit Shires describe what happened to them in September.
Read Brenda and Adrian’s account on this website at:
Ian and Judit Shires sent us the following account, extracted from their own website at:
Ian and Judit write:
“We left Camp Smok (near Krakow in southern Poland) with the intention of buying a Via Toll Box. After all the horror stories of people being trapped by the Police on what appears a normal road but without a Via Toll Box we thought it wise to invest. Any vehicle over 3.5 ton should have a Box because the detectors and the Police can catch you out. We have heard stories of people having to pay over £1,000 in fines (see the Wilsons’ account above).
We must point out that nowhere in Poland did we see signs stating that we should have the Via Toll Box fitted, or any other information whatsoever. There is the website, but it is quite confusing, even in English.
The idea is that you buy a Box and preload it with money. Then when you go under said gantries it deducts the toll automatically. In theory, when you get to the border you can hand the box back and get the cash back for it, plus the unused amount left in the Box. The roads are shown on a website but we have seen detectors and gantries, and the tiny "card" sign on other roads already.
The local filling station did not sell them and said that there is just one place in Krakow but they didn’t know where. They said it should be possible to get one on the motorway. Great!
Never mind, we went into town to visit the Palace and see if we could see any signs for Via Toll Boxes. No luck at all.
At the first service area on the way to Auschwitz we could buy a Box at the Filling Station counter but the staff and everyone else were quite confused and unsure what to do. The process went as follows:
1. Hand over Passport. Details entered into computer.
2. Hand over Registration Documents. Details entered into computer.
3. The above documents were then scanned into the computer.
4. The assistant then printed out two sets of documents. Each six pages long.
5. Pay for the Via Toll Box with Credit or Debit card. 120 PLN (about £24).
6. Sign for above on two separate receipts.
7. Pay for minimum pre-load with plastic. Again 120 PLN (another £24).
8. Sign for above on two separate receipts.
9. Sign for Credit Card, just once.
10. Assistant places the Via Toll Box on another box and does things with computer.
11. Sign one of the 6-page documents in 5 places (three times on one of the pages).
12. Sign the other 6-page document as above. Assistant keeps one copy. You keep the other.
13. Assistant hands you the Box to place in windscreen area of motorhome.
14. Leave the assistant looking confused after 50 minutes of bureaucracy.
15. We now have the Box and three receipts plus one of the 6-page documents. All in Polish.
On our way to Auschwitz we had to pay a “normal” toll at a “normal” toll booth. Why, when we have a ViaToll Box? On our way the Box never bleeped once and we never saw a gantry, yet the road is marked as one of the Via Toll roads on the internet. Is it working? Should we try to find a centre where we can report the problem? There is a button and the figures 2,3,4,X may light up. Is this good?
After a peaceful night at the Nazi Tunnels we headed for the German border near Dresden. Our route was very pleasant through the forests until we got to the motorway. Once again, no indication that this was a Via Toll road, even though it is indicated on the Polish website.
Take care at the border, as there is no Polish “side”. So we went into the German “side” where there were lots of empty offices. Luckily a Ukrainian trucker spotted us carrying our box and directed us to the correct office. It is not clearly marked and the VIA part of the name is a white outline on a white wall. Once inside a bored looking lady wanted all the papers and the box. Ian had to sign two sheets of paper agreeing that we had NOT paid any tolls and we would get the money for that and the box returned to our bank accounts. We’ll let you know about that.
So after all that faffing around and time wasting we actually spent nothing other than at toll booths. Well done ... and so they should be.”