The Swiss have a clever system for collecting motorway tolls. Rather than have a booth at every motorway junction – that would require heating, power, staff etc, the Swiss motorway tolls system is a lot more straight forward. One payment is made and this is valid for a given period of time.
The only complexity with the Swiss motorway tolls system is the fact that there are two different systems in operation – one for vehicles under 3500kg and the other method for vehicles over 3500kg. Lorries however are dealt with in a different manner.
Within this article, I refer to “Swiss motorway tolls” but the Swiss actually call this payment a “tax”.
Swiss motorway tolls – under 3500 kg.
This category will cover many motorhomes, most cars and pretty much all caravans. Also included in the Swiss motorway tolls “under 3500kg” section are motorbikes and other trailers.
For caravanners, you will note that you must purchase a toll sticker, also known as a vignette for both the car and the caravan. Vignettes are available at the border and at the time of writing cost 40 Swiss Francs. The vignettes are valid for between three and fourteen months…. For example, you may purchase a 2012 toll sticker from 1st December2011 and this is valid through to the end of January 2013 – 14 months validity. A vignette purchase in November 2011 will be valid until the end of January 2012. To sum up, the vignette is valid for the year shown on it, plus the previous December and the following January. These vignettes may also be purchased from the Swiss Tourist Office in London.
The following link will be useful to those driving cars, motorhomes under 3500kg, caravans and motorbikes.
Swiss motorway tolls – over 3500kg
This time, a slightly different system is in place for vehicles over 3500kg, – so this covers large 4×4 type vehicles, coaches, buses, motorhomes over 3500kg and the like. On arrival at the Swiss border, the driver must obtain a paper document to permit to be in Switzerland – not just the motorways, but actually “just” being in the country . The document requires the driver to complete information about the vehicle, name and address, registration plate and so on. There is then a choice as to how many times/number of days you would like to make use of the Swiss tax system for vehicles over 3500 kg…
Using a motorhome weighing over 3500kg as an example, the choices are as follows.
1) Swiss motorway tolls pass valid for just one day – 3.25 Swiss Francs
2) Unlimited number of days within one month – 58.50 Swiss Francs
3) Unlimited number of days within a 12 month period – 650 Swiss Francs
4) Ten days worth of use within a 12 month period – 32.50 Swiss Francs. This option is probably the best one for those travelling on holiday etc.
Note – there is a minimum charge of 25 Swiss Francs – so, two days worth of usage, if purchased as option (1) above would actually cost 50 Swiss Francs if purchased as separate Swiss motorway tolls permits. Option (4) as mentioned is ideal for motorhomers and caravanners. The document is issued on a given day and is valid for 12 months from that date. Mine was issued on 24th November 2011 and is valid through to 23 November 2012. Within that 12 month period, I can spend 10 days in Switzerland. Our trip to Italy has therefore used three separate days – one day for the journey south through Switzerland, another for the journey from the Italian border to Belinzona and the third for the journey from Bellinzona to Basle. We therefore have seven days worth of usage left which will cover our next two transits through Switzerland. As far as I am aware, this document can only be obtained at the Swiss border.
Click this page for my article about “how to complete the paperwork“
This tax covers the vehicle for the number of days the vehicle is in Switzerland. The paperwork states
“Cancellation by the driver. Before entering Switzerland and prior to each supplementary day in which the vehicle is staying in Switzerland, enter the day and dte, e.g. 26.08.08”. Note the use of the words “staying in Switzerland”, rather than “travelling” etc. So in theory, a seven day holiday in the country, even if the motorhome is stationary for five out of he seven, would still require seven days worth of usage.
In my view, and based upon my motorhome weighing over 3500kg, 32.50 SFR for 10 days worth of travel on the Swiss motorway tolls system is excellent value for money.
Click on the link for a question and answers website about Swiss motorway tolls.