No More Highway Robbery on Slovene Roads

This might be of importance to all of you who were irked by the new vignette system for charging road tolls in Slovenia. As you will remember, the government of former PM Janez Janša introduced the system om 1 July 2008 amid cries of the move being politically motivated as elections were fast approaching and the goverment had promised to do something about ridiculously long queues at toll-booths on Slovenian highways during the summer tourist season. The introduction of vignette was partly overshadowed by the Šentvid Tunnel Fiasco, but the gist of the move was the introduction of 12-months vignette (priced at €55), intended for those who use Slovenian roads regularly and 6-months vignettes (priced at €35) for everyone else, including tourists who will only pass through Slovenia driving to and from their destinations.


Naturally, a lot of people went apeshit. I mean, making people cough up 30 euros to use Slovenian roads twice in a year (going to and from a hotel in Croatia, for example) gives an entirely new meaning to the term highway robbery. The move did not go unnoticed in Brussels where the European Commission first asked nicely if Janša’s government could change the system into a more friendly one, but JJ and his minister of transportation Radovan Žerjav played dumb and said that there is still plenty of time to consider any changes.

Elections came, Janša lost and Patrick Vlačič, a protegee of the new PM Borut Pahor was installed as new minister of transportation. Somewhat surprisingly, he started playing dumb as well, saying that Slovenia will let itself first be dragged in front of the European Court, as to buy some time before changing the system. Nameyl, the trick is that introducing shorter-period vignettes means that less money will trickle into coffers of DARS (the state motorway company), probably forcing the government to back up loans taken by DARS with taxpayers’ money.

However, since an over-indebted DARS is not really the Commission’s problem, the muscles in Brussels told Slovenia that it will hold back on funds for completing the country’s highway system. Thus minister Patrick Vlačič announced, removing his foot from his mouth, that 6-months vignettes will be scrapped and 30- and 7-days vignettes will be introduced instead, The latter will be priced at 15 euros. priced at €35 and €15 respectively. Government of PM Pahor approved the new measure today and the parliament is expected to pass the changed law in an emergency session to speed up the process.

Whereas the rest of us, who use the yearly vignette, will now have to pay 95 euros for this luxury.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

10 thoughts on “No More Highway Robbery on Slovene Roads”

  1. Mr. P: You might expect me, as an occasional visitor to welcome this change but I don’t.

    Firstly, my car hire firm is now charging 2 Euros per day for the vignetta whereas before it was free. Secondly the arrangement just doesn’t seem fair for native Slovenians since it is principally foreign traffic that blocks your motorways in the summer months. The motorways that have been built seem to me largely have been expanded primarily to accommodate these “tourists” who now seem to have got the best of both worlds.

    Sorry about the annual increase!

  2. @Adriaan: you’re this close to becoming a Slovenian 😀

    As for vignette-charge by the car hire, that’s a scam if I ever saw one. Their cars will have to have a vignette anyway, otherwise they won’t be able to rent them out. There is absolutely no reason for them to shift the cost to the consumer. I can think of an agency or two which might be interested…

  3. 95€ a year is still four times less than a year worth passing through tool-booths (cca 4€ one way) with the old system every weekend for people commuting to and from places for work or studying. Call me egoistic, but I came from the coast and now live in Ljubljana (I was one of the first people using ABC system and spent hiiips of tolars there 🙂 ). And I have a few friends that make this travel daily.

  4. ÖAMTC: “Darüber hinaus empfinden nahezu alle Teilnehmer an der ÖAMTC-Umfrage das Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis zu Vignette bzw. Autobahnnetz als skandalös. Niemand kann verstehen, dass die Wochenvignette in Slowenien für 550 mautpflichtige Straßenkilometer 15 Euro kosten soll, wo doch die 10-Tages-Vignette für die 2.100 mautpflichtigen Straßenkilometer in Österreich 7,70 Euro kostet.”

    “Almost all participants of the ÖAMTC-poll [+5.000] consider the price/performance ratio outrageous. Nobody understands that the price for a 7-days-vignette for 550 km toll roads is 15 Euro whereas in Austria the price for a 10-day-vignette for 2.100 km is 7,70 Euro.”

    Does anybody believe this is a great image campaigne for Slovenia? And: The Jahrespickerl is at 73,80. Isn’t that the point where some questions arise???

  5. Hi,

    I would not argue about prices, I can’t say what is fair to the people and what is sustainable for the DARS’ budget (if there’s anything sustainable about DARS…). However, I find the change from 6 to 1 month, while retaining the price, just amazing:) It means that it could be 200EUR, or perhaps 70EUR, but why not 90EUR? Hm, perhaps 40EUR would still be better…Like on a oriental market.

    Secondly, introducing 7 days vignettes is rather annoying as well. Anyone entering Slovenia on a Saturday and leaving next Sunday will need 2 of them, which means 30 EUR:)

    It really makes you wonder what kind of a committee of wise men came to such interesting changes in the system?


  6. @RQ: What is the cost for the tunnels A10 one-way (14 km) in Austria? 9,50 €! Is that a great image campaign for Austria?
    @ Marko: you’ve got the point. That’s why there is no 10 day vignette!

  7. @Disablez: we have quite some tunnels, but you need to drive 60 per hour through them:)

    @Davor: right, thanks for reminding – Austria gets much more expensive with the tunnels, which in the west part is a constant feature.

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