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French motorway network announces freeze on most short-trip toll costs

Vinci Autoroutes said that the average increase of 2% on péages would not apply to two in three journeys of less than 50 kilometres

Cars queuing at the toll gate in Languedoc-Roussillon

Motorway costs for everyday journeys shorter than 50km will be frozen, in contrast to longer journeys Pic: Gary Perkin / Shutterstock

A major motorway company in France has announced a freeze on the majority of péage (toll road) charges for journeys of less than 50 kilometres, amid rising costs for longer trips.

Vinci Autoroutes said the change would apply from today (February 1), the date on which fees for longer journeys across the country is rising by an average of 2%.

Vinci Autoroutes' teams serve 2 million users on their 4,443 km French road network on a daily basis. They are estimated to be one of the largest motorway companies in the country.

"To preserve the purchasing power of motorists, toll rates for the vast majority of short-distance journeys will not increase on the Vinci network in 2022," the firm said in its statement.  

Prices will not increase for "four in five of journeys of less than 30 km". Then, "two thirds of journeys of less than 50 km, as well as the bypass routes of 34 agglomérations (conurbations)", said the Vinci group, which includes Autoroutes du Sud de la France (ASF), Cofiroute and Escota.

The freeze on journeys shorter than 50km will, in practice, apply to two thirds of the most common trips on the network, including Salon-de-Provence-Marseille, Villefranche-de-Lauragais-Toulouse and Dourdan-Paris. 

These routes are the cheapest in terms of peage costs, but the most commonly-taken, and are often used for work commutes.

For longer journeys, costs will still rise by the planned 2% on average across the network. This average rise will apply across France on all motorway networks.

Read more: Ten changes and updates for residents in France in February 2022

Motorway toll rates are revised every February 1. In 2021, the increase was only around 0.44% in most cases but is 2% on average this year, with some slight variations.

Autoroutes du Sud de la France said tariffs on their 2,627 kilometres of road would rise by 2.19%, while Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône said rates for its 1,812km would rise by 2.05%.

There is a fine for tailgating the vehicle in front to trick your way through a toll and avoid paying. 

This is now considered a category four infraction, with a fine of €375.

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