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Highway Robbery in Poland 2013 PDF Printable Version E-mail

Highway Robbery in Poland 2013

Brenda and Adrian Wilson
June 2013


Brenda and Adrian Wilson are very experienced motorhomers. They have built their own motorhome; they have motorhomed in Australia; they have flown to the USA where they bought a motorhome and toured extensively before returning with it to Europe. They have toured widely by motorhome in Europe (we first met them in Greece), and regularly visit Bulgaria where they are restoring a small house near the Greek and Turkish borders.

Use the Fellow Travellers  feature on this website to locate their accounts of four motorhome journeys, along with many photographs of their USA coast-to-coast-and-back epic.

In May of this year, returning to the UK from Bulgaria, they drove onto a section of road in Poland that, quite unknowable to them, required a recently introduced Via Toll Box. What followed was quite literally highway robbery and a warning to us all.

This is their letter of complaint to the Polish Authorities.

This episode also answers the question: Do the Poles need more Polish?

11th June 2013

To whom it may concern


Whilst driving recently on your roads in Poland, we came across a situation we had never encountered before, even though we have driven all around the world. Previously in Poland, in September 2011 on the A4 (NW of Legnica down to Katowice), we did NOT come across any toll gates at all.  We were (on both occasions) driving a 7.5 ton MOTORHOME (CAMPERVAN), which is used for our own leisure and is NOT an HGV lorry used for business. 

However, in May 2013, whilst driving on the single carriageway red road (number 2), having joined it at Sekowo (going west away from Poznan), we were stopped by Traffic Control, who asked us where our 'Via Toll Box' was.  We did not have one and were then taken to an ATM machine to withdraw cash for a fine of 3,000 Zloty, but British Citizens CANNOT withdraw more than 200 (880 Zloty) in any ONE transaction PER DAY.  We were subsequently detained for 3-4 hours before being eventually escorted by a breakdown service (at a cost to us) to Poznan Vehicle Compound, where we were told to stay (at more cost PER DAY) until we had withdrawn all the funds. Extra costs were incurred when we were taken to the Transport Department in order to produce all our necessary documents.  The total amount came to 3,740 Zloty.

A)  There were no Toll Stations, to pay anyone cash or to take a ticket.

B)  There was no information on where to purchase a 'Via Toll Box', or on the weights or prices that apply.

C)  There was no information on which roads were affected (even the Transport Dept could not give us a map showing which were the actual roads).

D)  The VERY small signs on the roadside show a 'ticket' and NOT a 'Via Toll Box'.

E)  The forms given to us to sign were NOT in English, so we were unaware of all the implications.

I would like to point out that we had been very careful to avoid the motorways around Poznan and had driven on yellow roads in a bad condition all morning. We could not possibly have known that where we joined the 'number 2' road we would be in so much trouble!  No one seemed to know the rules, not even in the petrol stations where we stopped 3 times to enquire, nor the lorry drivers themselves. Communication was very difficult, due to the language barrier, but if your own people do not know, how can foreign visitors be expected to know. 

This situation is very unwelcoming for those of us who wish to come and see your country. We ourselves curtailed our visit, as we had intended to sightsee along the Polish coastline on the Baltic Sea but decided instead to take the quickest route out of your country.  We would have liked to have all the necessary information, upon entering Poland at the borders.

We feel the fine was an extortionate amount, especially for a private vehicle. It wasn't as if we were trying to get away with anything; simply that we genuinely did not know what was expected of us. I would like to point out that the Traffic Control Officers who stopped us were pleasant enough and did try to be helpful to us but we feel that they could have used a certain amount of discretion, as we had not travelled very far on that particular road. They could have escorted us onto a road which was toll-free.

We will not be travelling again in Poland, either now or in the future!  A letter will also be sent to our Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

Very Angry and Disappointed Visitors.

Our Note

All vehicles over a maximum weight of 3.5 tons (including a car plus caravan which together weigh more than 3.5 tons) must fit and use a Via Toll Box when using certain roads in Poland.

Vehicles under 3.5 tons may fit a Via Toll Box or may choose to pay tolls as and when they come to a toll booth. These tolls may be a fixed charge or based on a previously issued ticket.

For more information on everything except penalties and fines, see: www.viatoll.pl/en.

If you have recent experiences of using Toll or Go Boxes in Poland. Austria or the Czech Republic, please share them through this website by Contacting Us.