Although one of the first announcement made by the Transport Minister Oleg Butković when he became a minister was that Croatia would introduce vignettes for its motorways, after a “thorough review” the government decided to abandon its plans because it calculated that it would not collect high enough revenues to repay the debt of the road sector, which totals more than 5.2 billion euros. Also, the vignettes, which would be much more favourable for citizens, will not be introduced because they would lead to dismissal of a considerable number of workers currently employed in the toll collection sector, reports Večernji List on March, 19, 2017.
So, instead of cheaper vignettes, starting from April tolls on motorways operated by the Croatian Motorways public company will become even more expensive, by 5 percent throughout the year and by 10 during the summer tourist season, from 1 July to 30 September.
For example, the toll from Zagreb to Split will be 181 kuna, and in summer months as much as 199 kuna, or 25 kuna more than before. Due to the price increases, the question is whether travellers should choose another form of transportation. The cheapest way to travel between Zagreb and Split is by bus. The cheapest ticket costs 95 kuna, and the trip lasts for 5.5 hours. By car and using the motorway, the trip lasts for about 3 hours and 40 minutes. With the average cost of fuel and tolls in the amount of 468 kuna, you need four people travelling in a car to make it less expensive than a bus. If you decide to use the old regular road instead, you will spend 223 kuna, but the trip will last for at least six hours. Train takes six hours and the fare is 208 kuna. Interestingly, airfare from Zagreb to Split costs 355 kuna (of course, price depends on many factors, and this price was confirmed on Friday for a trip to Tuesday), which is very competitive, especially since the trip takes just 45 minutes.
If you want to travel from Zagreb to Osijek, bus is also the cheapest option (125 kuna), while travel by train (138 kn) takes longer, but is more comfortable. Car trip will set you back by between 169 and 317 kuna, while the plane is, despite subsidized airfare, considerably more expensive – 453 kuna, but also the fastest – the trip takes only 40 minutes.
Travelling to Rijeka, bus takes a bit over two hours and costs 72 kuna. Train takes as much as three and a half hours, so not many people use that option. By car, the trip is the shortest, and, if there are four people sharing the costs, the most favourable (114 to 183 kuna).
Collection of tolls is a major source of revenues for tourist countries, so all southern summer tourist countries in Europe, such as Spain, France, Portugal, Greece and Italy, do not have vignettes, but rather tolls paid according to the length of trip, just like in Croatia. In these countries the use of motorways is quite expensive, even more so than in Croatia after the latest price increases.
For example, in France and Italy, the average price is around 8 euros per 100 km, in Spain 9.5 euros, in Portugal about 6 euros, and in Greece from 4 to 10 euros. In Croatia, the average price will now be 6.3 euros per 100 km, and 6.9 euros per 100 kilometres during summer months. It should be added that in other countries not all sections are priced the same. For example, mountain sections of Italian motorways are about 30 percent more expensive than the lowlands sections, while many countries charge additionally for the use of tunnels.
The most expensive motorway in Croatia is Zagreb-Macelj, which is charged by a private concessionaire on average 10.5 euros per 100 km. And not only that. Under a contract signed with the government, the concessionaire will receive additional compensation if there is a drop in revenues due to reduced traffic.