LIST: where barrier-free motorway tolls are starting in France and when

Barriers will be replaced by a system that scans drivers’ number plates

Automatic detection gates will replace barrier tolls on 210 km of the A13-14 in December 2024
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An increasing number of French motorways are ditching traditional tollbooths, and instead becoming 'barrier-free' although payment is still required. 

On these roads, barriers are being replaced with a free-flow ‘no-stop’ system, with tolls being paid digitally at a later date, instead of in-person at physical tolls.

The largest of these is the A13/14 which connects Normandy and Paris.

Motorway operator Sanef has replaced over half of the tollbooths on the road with free-flowing digital equivalents.

The remaining changes will be made at night to avoid disrupting traffic. Sanef stresses that drivers do not need to change their payment habits for the time being.

So far, barrier-free tolls system are in place, or set to be introduced, on the following roads: 

  • The A14, a 21km stretch of road linking the west of Paris with the A13 (barrier free as of June 19, 2024)
  • The A13 in Normandy, at the Heudebouville (Eure) tolls. barriers will progressively be removed on the motorway, which will be entirely barrier-free in December 2024.
  • The A79 between Saône-et-Loire and Allier (already barrier-free)
  • The A4 near Boulay (already barrier-free)
  • A 53 km stretch of the A69 motorway between Toulouse and Castres (will be barrier-free in 2025)

How do the motorways work?

The system relies on technology similar to that used to assess heavy goods vehicles for the eco-tax, with gantry cranes equipped with cameras that scan vehicles’ toll-pass tags and number plates.

Drivers are charged based on the distance travelled, with these payments either being made monthly or for each individual trip taken along the road.

Read more: How do you pay a free-flow motorway toll in a rental car? 

This technology is already widely used in the United States and Norway, as well as on a smaller scale in other parts of France.

How can I pay the tolls?

From December, drivers on the A13-14 will have several payment options.

  • Automatic payment via Liber-t electronic toll tag. This is the same tag currently in use, and should be placed on the vehicle's windscreen. Toll expenses are deducted from drivers’ bank accounts every month. These tags can be purchased here.

  • Payment after each journey, within 72 hours, by entering the vehicle number plate online at 

  • Automatic payment via a Sanef customer account, registered along with a vehicle number plate and a bank card.

  • Physical payment at one of the payment points in the Nirio network using the vehicle's number plate, no later than 72 hours after each journey. These payment points are found in tabacs.

Note that on the other roads that are barrier-free, alternative payment methods are available, depending on who operates the motorway.

Read more: 14 things you can do at a tabac in France apart from buy cigarettes 

Drivers who fail to pay within the 72 hour delay will be sent a €90 fine on top of the toll amount, rising to €375 if not settled within 60 days.

What if my car is not French?

Sanef told The Connexion that it expected to be able to process foreign number plates, allowing drivers of UK-registered vehicles to pay after using the A13/14.

Members of The Connexion team have successfully been able to create accounts on the Sanef website, which would allow them to pay tolls online.

The company however said it was unsure exactly how this would work in terms of sending fines to the homes of UK drivers due to limits on the sharing of driver information since Brexit.

It added that there would be a level of tolerance during the first few months as drivers adapt to the system.

The tolerance is likely guided by the backlash of many drivers against the free flow A79.

In March 2023, consumer magazine UFC-Que Choisir reported that many drivers felt the payment systems were not explained properly, while others said that they were unable to pay online and had to call customer services.

The system resulted in motorway operator Aliae being overwhelmed with work to chase down 180,000 unpaid fines over its first year, with 80,000 court cases and 600,000 ‘instructional letters’ for late payers.

Sanef’s head of construction, François Cornier, assured that lessons have been learned from France’s previous experiences with free flow motorways, and that the Normandy to Paris project will save time.

“It is difficult to gauge exactly how much time this will save people. But during busy weekends we hope the trip from Paris to Caen will take half an hour less.”