The toll is one of the infrastructure systems in Slovakia that are going to be changed into newer, more efficient ones. The Slovakia National Motorway Company (NDS) has been working on the transition to the new toll system for several years. One of the most important changes will be joining the international tolling system, as the service will bring borderless tolls to carriers.
The 2023 Scenario
In addition to the fact that carriers will be able to switch to an EETS provider of their choice next year, the current toll system will also be put out of operation gradually. The current toll collector will fully provide the service until the end of June 2023. After July 1, 2023, it will be no longer possible for the SkyToll company to provide new on-board units and to register new clients. Carriers who have already had an on-board unit from this company can still use it for toll collection until the end of 2023.
What will happen in 2024?
After January 1, 2024, the service of the national toll service provider in Slovakia will be provided by a different, new company that will emerge from a public tender. Carriers will be able to choose between EETS providers and the national toll service provider, which is currently being selected by the state through a transparent public tender. The carrier will be free to choose. It is expected that their choice will be affected mainly by various benefits offered by the EETS providers, or the fact where the particular EETS provider operates.
“Carriers do not have to get stressed with switching to the new system or with having to change the on-board units used at Christmas time. Carriers can look forward to alternatives to the current toll collector in the form of new EETS European toll providers, which will be added from December. The nearest milestone which car carriers should start to prepare for is July 1, 2023, when the process of gradual putting of the old system out of operation should begin, mainly the registration of new clients, however, the old OBU units will still be fully operational. After that date, new carriers who want to use the defined road sections will have to register with one of the accredited EETS providers” explains Jaroslav Ivanco – Vice Chairman of the Board, Charging and IT Section Director and Toll Office Section Director of NDS.
International toll is a synonym for driving without borders
The National Motorway Company (NDS) has taken a fundamental step. It has launched a test environment for EETS providers. It is one of the first activities that will bring potential European toll collectors one step closer to accreditation in the Slovak toll market. EETS is an abbreviation for the European Electronic Toll Service – Slovakia is going to join this international system soon. It is a big step towards allowing carriers to enjoy tolls without borders.
Slovakia will finally join the ranks of other European countries with a significantly liberalised toll collection system. This innovation will bring several advantages for carriers. Greater competition in the toll market goes hand in hand with better services for carriers. In addition, the state will pay significantly lower commissions to EETS providers than to the current toll collector.
How and what are EETS providers going to test?
Established EETS providers interested in expanding their portfolio of the countries where they provide toll collection service can test their on-board units from the beginning of October this year. They can check the settings and the method of communication with the charging system, sending the data necessary for toll calculation and feedback or confirmations in the test development environment. In layman’s terms, EETS providers can check whether their on-board units are compatible with the Slovak system. As a result, they can also start fulfilling the first technical prescriptions, which they will later commit to by signing a contract with NDS.
The first important milestone as early as December 2022
NDS is going to launch the EETS application for EETS providers for live operation of the toll collection system in December 2022. That means that EETS providers will now be able to start making contracts with clients – carriers. It can be assumed that it will be in their competitive interest to get accredited and thus be able to provide the service in Slovakia as soon as possible. The exact date of the start of live operation of particular EETS providers depends on the level and speed of their implementation.
Which of the European providers will come to Slovakia?
Six established providers have expressed their interest in providing the international toll collection service here so far – the Italian Telepass, the Czech companies Itis Holding and Eurowag, the German Toll4Europe and Tolltickets and the French TotalEnergies.
“EETS providers will expand the portfolio of the companies providing toll collection in Slovakia. Their operation has several positives both for carriers and for the state. The carriers will be able to pay tolls through a single on-board unit based on a single contract with a single service provider within all EU countries where the EETS provider which they have entered into a contract with operates. The fact that the toll collection parameters will not change is also important – the rates and range of tolled roads will remain the same. For the state, participation in international toll collection means money saving, as the EETS providers´ commission will be lower compared to the current system.”
Jaroslav Ivanco: By the international toll we increase the comfort of carriers
Jaroslav Ivanco holds the position of the Vice-Chairman of the Board, Charging and IT Section Director and Toll Office Section Director in the Slovak National Motorway Company. He is currently facing the biggest challenge in his career – to build a new borderless toll system.
The National Motorway Company has launched a test environment for EETS providers since the beginning of October. This is one of the first activities in the providers´ accreditation on the Slovak toll market. EETS is an abbreviation for the European Electronic Toll Service – Slovakia is going to join this international system soon and bring borderless tolls to carriers. “Thanks to testing, providers will be able to check whether and to what extent their on-board units are compatible with the Slovak system. In this way, we want to offer them the opportunity to understand the difficulty of the project of their implementation better and define the associated costs more precisely,” says Jaroslav Ivanco, the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and IT and Charging Section Director at the National Motorway Company.
How will tolls work in Slovakia after January 1, 2023?
“As for carriers, there will be no change to the tolls. They don’t have to get stressed whether they need a new operating unit or not. The system is going to change only in the background then. The carrier can look forward to the addition of alternatives – new European toll providers from December.
The basic change is therefore the stage of extending the toll collection service by international tolls as a completely new alternative, and the arrival of large European EETS providers along with it. That’s a technical level. For the carrier, this effectively means that new on-board units will be added to the toll collection system from January. The final stage, which will follow the end of the tender for a new national provider, is the possibility of using the unit of the Toll Office.”
A new workplace is to be created for the electronic toll collection system under the new conditions, currently still part of NDS – the Toll Office. How will it work, what will be its role?
“Its task will be to operate the toll collection systems, the system of both the International toll and the national toll. It should work throughout Slovakia. The intention is to have 2 headquarters – one in the east and the other in the west of the country.”
EETS – the International toll system. How does it work?
“It is a new service that will be provided in Slovakia in parallel with the national toll. Thanks to the service international transport will get smoother, the obligation to have an OBU for each country separately will be eliminated, and generally the comfort of carriers will increase.”
A technical question – an OBU unit changes into an OBE unit, what does that mean?
“The main difference between the two technical devices is the possibility of their use in different toll systems. The OBE (On BoardEquipment) allows the motorist to cross different EU countries with no need for an additional on-board unit for toll collection. The OBE will ensure the communication and sending vehicle location data necessary for toll calculation in all countries with EETS.”
You have launched a test run for EETS operators. What will it look like?
“As part of the EETS provider’s registration process in the Slovak toll system, they were given access to the development environment in which they will be able to check the settings and technical requirements of the Slovak system. In this way, we want to offer them the opportunity to understand the difficulty of the project of their implementation better and define the associated costs more precisely.”