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How to pay tolls in Portugal when there is no toll booth

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There have been a few posts on this board about the confusion in Portugal, which has been caused by the creation of some new toll roads that have no human beings and no way to pay with a credit card or money at the exit. These are mostly in the north, and very soon, the east-west highway in the Algarve will switch over, too.

I am in Lisbon now and have rented a car recently. The car rental agencies do not have transponders in the rental cars, at least not yet, so you have to arrange to pay the toll yourself. It's not too difficult.

Within five business days of going through the toll booth, you must go to either a post office (Correios) or any store in the country with a "pay shop" sign in the window. These are stores that sell phone cards, bus and metro cards, etc., and can be newspaper shops, tobacco shops, cafés, all kinds of little businesses seem to be set up with this service. Post offices tend to be open from 8:30 or 9:00 to 6:00 or so -- they do not close for lunch like they do in Spain.

The only information you need to bring is the license plate number. All of these places have access to the computer account that took your car's picture when you went through the highway exit -- your toll will be calculated by the computer, but the woman I spoke with said it's a good idea to have a list of your actual dates and trips because especially if it's a rental car, you might have other unpaid tolls on the list.

Apparently this is generating a lot of badly needed cash for the sinking Portuguese economy, so at least we can feel like we're contributing to a worthwhile cause.

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