Uncertain if new Dartford toll tag can also be used on French motorways (and vice versa)

Despite the same company running both systems it is not certain yet that the upcoming Dartford Toll system will be compatible with the French motorway Liber-T auto toll tag.

Plus, tips on how to use and look after the tag – and get some money off.

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Over 32,000 UK customers now use the Liber-T tag that automatically pays motorway tolls in France.

That’s up from 20,000 earlier this year.

Impressive though that is, these numbers would obviously increase substantially if the new auto toll system for the Dartford Tunnel, due next year, could also be used on the French autoroute system. The same company will administer both.

As it stands however that is far from certain.

Neither the Highways Agency – who last week awarded French company Sanef a £367m, ten year contract to run the Dartford tolls – nor Sanef Tolling, a UK subsidiary who run the Liber-T system for British motorists – could today commit themselves to running compatible systems.

A spokesman for Sanef Tolling told DriveEurope today it was ‘absolutely our intention’ to have interoperable systems but that it was too early to say. Meanwhile, the Highways Agency tells us the technical specifications have yet to be decided, and might not be for another year.

It might not sound like an enormous hardship for your average driver to have two tags on their windscreen. But we’re entering territory already well known to UK hauliers who drive abroad, that of a ‘blizzard’ of tags and vignette stickers needed to drive in various countries. How nice if this issue could be nipped in the bud.

On the flip side, how great if the thousands of motorists who use the Dartford Tunnel each day also have the hassle free option of using their tags in France. It might encourage them to go further.

What else we found out today:

Discounts – an exclusive deal means all Eurotunnel passengers who apply for the Liber-T tag save the €10 set up fee. The annual €6 admin charge is also halved from the second year. This reduces the upfront cost to around €30, €20 of which is a refundable deposit.

Removal – the tag holder is designed to stick fast in all conditions. If for any reason you need to remove it, say to sell the car, heat the area with a hair dryer – for instance – to make it easier to remove.

Problems – 99% of all problems, we are told, are down to the tag being incorrectly positioned. Certain windscreen coatings can prevent the sensors at toll stations picking up the signal. The tag is ideally placed behind the ‘mottled’ area at the top of the windscreen behind the rear view mirror.

Battery Life – the batteries in the tag should last for between five and seven years. They are not designed to be replaced. Users of the old system which has less long lasting batteries – who would have set up their accounts in France via credit card – should see the bottom of this page on Sanef’s website where they can swap for a new one. UK customers will have their tags automatically swapped before the battery runs out.

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For more information see www.SanefTolling.co.uk, or read what we wrote earlier in the year ‘Is it worth getting the French auto toll tag?

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