Do I need to hire a transponder to use the toll roads in Portugal?
You do not have to hire a transponder but, if you are planning to drive to other locations in Portugal or use the motorways, then hiring a transponder may save you the headache of finding alternative routes or paying fines for non-payment of toll charges. There are two types of electronic toll roads - those indicated by the blue signs showing a car with a Euro symbol above it, and the Via Verde lanes indicated by a green sign or V symbol. A transponder will allow you to use BOTH types of electronic toll road. There are other payment methods, such as the Tollcard or Tollservice, which will allow you to use ONLY the blue signed electronic toll roads but not the Via Verde lanes.
Ask your car hire company how toll roads will be charged when you collect your car. It takes 48 hours for toll charges to be made, so any you incur in the last couple of days of your car hire will almost certainly be charged straight to your credit card after you have returned the car.
The transponder device is often already fitted in your hire car and will normally be located on your windscreen behind the rear view mirror. You will need to have paid any hire charges for it to be activated. Rental charges for the device are in the region of 12 euros for a week. The toll charges will depend on how much you use them. As a guide, the journey between Lisbon and Porto on the A1 will cost you about 25 euros. The A28 between Porto and Valenca about 5 euros.
There are still some more 'traditional' toll roads in Portugal where you pay at booths but these are becoming less common.
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