How to Drive on a Tolled Road in Australia

Four Methods:Paying a toll in cashPaying a toll using a video account or tagUsing a passI forgot to buy a pass, and I don't have a tag

If you've driven in New South Wales, Victoria or Queensland, you may have often seen toll roads, or driven on one. There are multiple ways to pay your tolls, should you ever have to drive on a toll road.

Steps

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    Figure out how frequently you will use a toll road. All toll roads in Melbourne collect tolls electronically, and Brisbane is moving towards removing all cash booths on their toll roads. Sydney currently has a limited number of roads with cash booths. If you only intend to drive through a toll road once, you may find it easier to pay in cash.
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    Find out what sort of accounts the toll road you intend to travel most on offers. Most toll operators provide two account types, electronic tag/pass/eTag, and video tolling/number plate recognition. You can also purchase a pass. Getting an account is usually more economic if you intend to use toll roads more than 12 times a year.
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    Grab your tag/pass, and (if applicable) install it onto your windscreen. Fund the account (usually with a credit card or BPAY).

Method 1
Paying a toll in cash

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    A few toll roads in NSW still accept cash.
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    Find out what the toll amount is, and have it ready. It may be posted on a sign. If you do not know the toll, assume that you require change.
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    Make sure you are in the correct lane. All cash toll roads take electronic tags, so make sure you are not in the electronic tag lane. These lanes are marked with either an "E", "eTag", "Tag" or similar wording on the ground. There are usually two different cash lanes.
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    Do you need change? If you have the correct toll amount, drive into the lane marked "Automatic", "Auto", "Exact Toll" or otherwise "Cash". These lanes only accept correct amounts. If you need change, or do not know what the toll amount is, drive in the "Cash + Change" or "Change" lane.
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    Pay your toll at the booth. Some booths may require you to put the toll into a collection basket. Others may have an attendant.

Method 2
Paying a toll using a video account or tag

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    If using a tag, make sure your tag is correctly mounted on the windscreen. Most tags for passenger cars mount on the top of the windscreen horizontally. Tags on trucks or buses should usually be mounted at the bottom of the windscreen, sometimes vertically. Use the holder provided to hold the tag. Extra holders are generally provided for free so you can use the tag in any other cars you may own.
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    If driving on a mixed toll road (one that also has toll plazas for cash tolls), make sure you are driving in the electronic lane, usually marked "E", "Tag", "eTag" or "Pass".
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    Drive through under the toll gantry. Avoid lane changes. You do not need to slow down.
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    Listen for a beep (if using a tag). One beep normally means all is well. Check your manual for other beep amounts.

Method 3
Using a pass

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    Purchase the correct pass. Passes can be purchased online, or usually at service stations.
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    Drive through the electronic lane. The video camera will take a photo of your number plate as you drive past, and match it with a database of vehicles assigned to passes.
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    You do not need to do anything more. You will not receive an invoice, or any confirmation letter.

Method 4
I forgot to buy a pass, and I don't have a tag

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    If you drove through an electronic lane, and you didn't have a tag, a video tolling account or a pass, relax.
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    Call the toll operator. Most toll roads have the toll road operators number on the side of the road. It is imperative you ring them within 48 hours to avoid a fine notice.
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    Purchase a pass. Some toll roads will allow you to purchase a pass up to 48 to 72 hours after travelling. Purchasing a pass will ensure you do not receive a fine.

Tips

  • All electronic tags, regardless of which toll road operator issued it are compatible for use on other toll roads within Australia. For example, if you have a "Breeze" tag issued by ConnectEast, the operators of EastLink in Melbourne, you can use this same tag to travel on the WestLink M7 in Sydney, or any other toll road in Australia.
  • Make sure, if you are using a video account or a tag, that you keep your account loaded sufficient funds (if you have not authorised automatic debiting from your credit card or bank account). Tag providers provide many options to load funds. Note that some, such as BPAY may take time to process.
  • Most tags will make one beep sound if your toll has been deducted successfully. Consult your tag's manual if you hear more than one beep.
  • Most tags have a vehicle classification printed. Do not use a car tag in a truck or vice versa.

Warnings

  • In the past, people have tried to sell number plate covers with horizontal stripes, claiming they are legal, whilst deterring toll camera detection. Note that these products have been independently tested to fail to deter toll detection, and are a waste of your money.
  • Always ensure you have a pass, tag or account, or you purchase a pass immediately after you travel if you do not have any of the former. If you drive on a toll road without paying the toll, the camera will take a photo of your number plate, and you will receive either an infringement notice, or an invoice with an extra "database-matching" fee.
  • Don't slow down unexpectedly at an electronic toll gantry. You do not need to slow down, and slowing down unexpectedly may cause confusion to other drivers, and be a potential hazard.
  • Do not speed or travel faster than necessary when approaching a toll plaza.

Things You'll Need

  • A car, or other vehicle
  • The necessary skills and documentation (such as a license) to operate a motor vehicle
  • A tag, pass, account or cash.

Article Info

Categories: Driving Techniques | Australia