Highway robbery in Poland

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Don Madge, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Don Madge

    Don Madge Funster

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    I received this from Barry & Margaret Williamson (Magbaz Travels).

    Introduction

    Brenda and Adrian Wilson are very experienced motorhomers. They have built their own motorhome; they have motorhomed in Australia; they have flown to the USA where they bought a motorhome and travelled extensively before returning with it to Europe. They have toured widely by motorhome in Europe (we first met them in Greece), and regularly visit Bulgaria where they are also restoring a small house near the Greek and Turkish borders.

    In May of this year, returning to the UK from Greece and Turkey, they drove onto a section of road in Poland that, quite unknowable to them, required a recently introduced Via Toll Box. What followed was quite literally highway robbery and a warning to us all.

    This is their letter of complaint to the Polish Authorities.

    This episode also answers the question: Do the Poles need more Polish?
    4th June 2013

    To whom it may concern

    APPEAL AGAINST FINE

    Whilst driving recently on your roads in Poland, we came across a situation we had never encountered before, even though we have driven all around the world. Previously in Poland, in September 2011 on the A4 (NW of Legnica down to Katowice), we did NOT come across any toll gates at all. We were (on both occasions) driving a 7.5 ton MOTORHOME (CAMPERVAN), which is used for our own leisure and is NOT an HGV lorry used for business.

    However, in May 2013, whilst driving on the single carriageway red road (number 2), having joined it at Sekowo (going west away from Poznan), we were stopped by Traffic Control, who asked us where our 'Via Toll Box' was. We did not have one and were then taken to an ATM machine to withdraw cash for a fine of 3,000 Zloty, but British Citizens CANNOT withdraw more than £200 (880 Zloty) in any ONE transaction PER DAY. We were subsequently detained for 3-4 hours before being eventually escorted by a breakdown service (at a cost to us) to Poznan Vehicle Compound, where we were told to stay (at more cost PER DAY) until we had withdrawn all the funds. Extra costs were incurred when we were taken to the Transport Department in order to produce all our necessary documents. The total amount came to 3,740 Zloty.

    We believe this system to be most unfair in our situation, because:

    A) There were no Toll Stations, to pay anyone cash or to take a ticket.
    B) There was no information on where to purchase a 'Via Toll Box', or on the weights or prices that apply.
    C) There was no information on which roads were affected (even the Transport Dept could not give us a map showing which were the actual roads).
    D) The VERY small signs on the roadside show a 'ticket' and NOT a 'Via Toll Box'.
    E) The forms given to us to sign were NOT in English, so we were unaware of all the implications.

    I would like to point out that we had been very careful to avoid the motorways around Poznan and had driven on yellow roads in a bad condition all morning. We could not possibly have known that where we joined the 'number 2' road we would be in so much trouble! No one seemed to know the rules, not even in the petrol stations where we stopped 3 times to enquire, nor the lorry drivers themselves. Communication was very difficult, due to the language barrier, but if your own people do not know, how can foreign visitors be expected to know. This situation is very unwelcoming for those of us who wish to come and see your country. We ourselves curtailed our visit, as we had intended to sightsee along the Polish coastline on the Baltic Sea but decided instead to take the quickest route out of your country. We would have liked to have all the necessary information, upon entering Poland at the borders.

    We feel the fine was an extortionate amount, especially for a private vehicle. It wasn't as if we were trying to get away with anything; simply that we genuinely did not know what was expected of us. I would like to point out that the Traffic Control Officers who stopped us were pleasant enough and did try to be helpful to us but we feel that they could have used a certain amount of discretion, as we had not travelled very far on that particular road. They could have escorted us onto a road which was toll-free.

    We will not be travelling again in Poland, either now or in the future! A letter will also be sent to our Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

    A Very Angry and Disappointed Visitor.
    Our Note

    Their fines and costs came to about £750 at the current exchange rate.

    All vehicles over a maximum weight of 3.5 tons (including a car plus caravan which together weigh more than 3.5 tons) must fit and use a Via Toll Box when using certain roads in Poland.

    Vehicles under 3.5 tons may fit a Via Toll Box or may choose to pay tolls as and when they come to a toll booth. These tolls may be a fixed charge or based on a previously issued ticket.

    For more information on everything except penalties and fines, see: http://www.viatoll.pl/en?eprivacy=1
     
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  2. PP Bear

    PP Bear Funster Life Member

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    If this isn’t the true use of the words”highway robbery” then I don’t know what is:Eek!:

    Corruption is rife throughout and to keep you held prisoners while you withdraw the funds is beyond comprehension:Eeek:

    The only good thing was that they didn’t impound the motorhome and auction it off to get the funds immediately, as I’ve heard of this happening too:Sad:

    Thanks for passing this on as now we’re all warned for the future:Angry:
     
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  3. tony_g

    tony_g Funster

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    Sounds like we had a lucky escape. At the end of last month we drove 110 miles from Gdansk to Torun in Poland mostly along the S91 - a road still shown on Googlemap as the toll free alternative to the E75. Our very up to date satnav also sent us this way, supposedly toll free. Part way along I noted the overhead gantries, like the 'average speed' ones on UK motorways or the tollbox readers around Melbourne. I had heard of the introduction of 'go-boxes' for commercial vehicles in Poland but nobody we asked knew how the system worked or where it applied. To be truthful, I twigged we were on a chargeable route when I saw the gantries but it was a Sunday, very quiet and I suppose I felt fairly gungho. The cautionary tale above demonstrates how foolish this was. Subsequently I conducted a VERY thorough google search and eventually and at great length discovered the website of the private company which appears to operate the system on behalf of the Polish Government. As well as motorways which already had toll booth administered toll, there now appear to be a growing number of 'fast' roads (not motorways, just 'A' roads not so bloody awful as much of the Polish road system seems to be). They are signified by 'S' before the number and appear to be mostly in the western half of the country. The website in question is in Polish with some pages having an English translation. Significantly, not the ones spelling out which roads and where. The actual costs do not seem to be extortionate and most people would surely welcome the opportunity to make an informed decision as to routing (especially as I lost £20 worth of Milenco blind spot mirror somewhere along a rutted nightmare in northern Poland, just shaken off along with half my fillings.) BUT 'informed' is the keyword. Nobody in Poland seems to understand the mechanics of this new system and this is the second time I have heard of someone falling spectacularly foul of the regulations.
    I, for one, shan't be back in Poland until they sort themselves out.
     
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  4. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    * crosses Poland off list of must-see places *
     
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  5. beerdrinker1

    beerdrinker1 Funster

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    Body swerve

    Definately a body swerve of Poland for me in future, until as you say " they bloody well sort themselves out ", yet another example of our so called partners in Europe deliberately ripping us off yet again,

    When you think of the millions of pounds the Poles working here have sent back to Poland, we should have free access to everything there !, not being treated like bloody criminals for pouring yet more money into their economy,
     
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  6. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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  7. G4OGE

    G4OGE

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    What do we expect from Europe especially these parts, we are getting the same roads here so we can expect tolls here to but they will be clearly marked and no doubt expensive.

    We should get it all free as visitors like they do here no car tax, half of them don't have insurance, the same goes as I said in another post on here, we saved there backsides twice but we came out of it worse off.

    If we were in trouble they would tell us go whistle dixe don't you think?.:Sad:
     
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  8. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    You have figures to support this presumably.....?
     
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  9. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    from the downloadable brochure
    [HI]All French and foreign vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes[/HI] and using the
    French road network will have to be equipped with a GPS device that transmits data for the purpose of calculating the tax
     
  10. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    So we can expect an "across the board" rise in prices of everything that travels by road transport across France............................pfffft....!!!
     
  11. the stig

    the stig Funster

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    For France - I read this as only applying to goods vehicles and haulage vehicles, therefore not applicable to privately owned motor homes and caravans etc

    guess they need to start looking at ways of foreign haulage trucks to pay for local tax, just the way Britain should for all the foreign trucks that drive on our roads. Not that it will let us all pay less tax of course!
     
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  12. G4OGE

    G4OGE

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    Information picked up watching police stop type programes and meant as a throw away remark I did not think I would have to defend it with factual evidence as if going to court!, it is difficult I would suspect knowing if they have insurance as they are not on the DVLA data base, usually it is something the poor soul who they hit finds out when they come to claim, hence the introduction of cover by insurance companies to cover said vehicles. But having had a look round it seems we are the worst country in Europe for unindured drivers the link below shows some info for Peterborough which has ahigh proportion of (visitors).


    http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/...news/menace-of-the-uninsured-driver-1-3662406
     
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  13. JockandRita

    JockandRita Funster Life Member

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    I am not being rude (or racist) if I say, "that is an understatement". :Sad:

    There is a clear scant regard for this country's motoring laws (and other laws), by those who think it not their duty to comply. I drive in and around P/boro city centre daily, making deliveries. The situation is terrible, and in the the larger populated ethnic areas, observance of the rules of the Highway Code, is practically non existent, and, as there there are no officials about to enforce those rules, it's no wonder they are widely disregarded and broken.

    Regards,

    Jock.
     
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  14. campa cola

    campa cola Funster

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    my enduring memory of driving Poland is crap roads, dangerous roads & the drunken red neck on a Saturday afternoon who wandered and collapsed into the road in front of me.....oh and of course all the dick heads on every journey who battled on every side of the road to tail gate me inches away from my van....
     
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  15. Malcolm Bolt

    Malcolm Bolt Funster Life Member

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    Ferries are ace


    Looks like I'll be on the Portsmouth to Spain ferry again this back end - and maybe Spain to Italy later. :Rofl1:
     
  16. Ridgeway

    Ridgeway Funster

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    I think he's referring to the British drivers, more uninsured vehicles there than most other European countries...
     
  17. Dafydd

    Dafydd Funster

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    It seems pretty clear that this only concerns HGV ie commercial, professional, hauliers and contractors.
    I did some browsing just now on french sites about "péage" (toll) for "camping car" and "poids lourd"... a motorhome with max permissable wieight over 3500 (or over 3m height) is "classe 3".... and there is no mention of this on any "camping car" forum or toll operator site. as24.com is only for HGV

    I think I'm right in thinking that the term HGV is only used in reference to the "Goods" bit, ie only commercial. So a private vehicle (for tax, registration, ins) can never be an "HGV" whatever your max weight.

    As a side-note, I used to live in the south of France (long time ago) and regularly drive back and forth to the UK. The first few times were "well, I'm not paying! Routes Nationales only!". Then one time in someone else's car we paid to use the autoroute. The difference was amazing! In time, comfort, and ease. Back then it was about £40 north to south. I was converted after that. If you just want to do a long trip without stopping, A to B, I recommend it.
     
  18. haganap

    haganap Funster Life Member

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    Quite clearly Dafyds and Stig are correct.

    It was debated on here some time ago and thoroughly researched.

    It applies to HGV#s over 3.5t and not privately owned camper vans. :thumb:













    YET :Wink:
     
  19. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    When we do the run to Spain it is always cheaper easier and often quicker to avoid the péage routes completely..

    Using péage roads it used to take us 4 days to get from Dunkirque to Zahora, and cost us about £85.00 in tolls PLUS the silly stupid diesel prices to found on said routes

    Using A roads we now do the trip in 3 and a 1/2 days, save money on fuel and of course péage fees

    As for Poland.. I have been hankering after visiting there for the past three years but woman has always had her way and we have gone elsewhere..

    Hate to admit it but by the sound of it she was dead right.. Duly crossed off my must visit list !
     
  20. johnp10

    johnp10 Funster

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    We often have thread relating to the benefits of up rating MHs to above 3.5t gross.
    This obviously increases payload, but also we hear of the VED benefit, in being lower as the vehicle is then classed as a "Private HGV".
    Should it be decided that the body configuration is irrelevant, and that GVW is the criteria, that tax benefit may bite many in the arse?
    The vehicle is after all what the V5 says it is, not what we want to call it.

    Just a thought.

    Cant have it all ways?
     
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