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European citizens demand a fair price for fair usage of Slovenian highways!

Date

08 Apr 2009

Sections

Transport

According to the first results of a European survey carried out the by the FIA European Bureau, most European visitors want Slovenia to introduce a short-stay vignette at a fair price for their highways in time for the summer season 2009.

The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) European Burueau has today published the preliminary results of a survey, organised in cooperation with all the automobile clubs in countries neighbouring Slovenia (1) asking what would be the optimal duration of short-stay road toll vignette. Since 23rd March when the survey was launched nearly 10.000 citizens to date have voiced their opinions about the current Slovenian road toll system introduced in 2008. The answers gathered so far reflect overwhelming support for a change of the current system, considered by many of those interviewed as discriminatory.

Comments from respondents have been extremely frank, “In my opinion, the Slovenian rule is a clear racket and a punishment for all of those, who do not go on holiday in Slovenia but rather only transit the country en route to somewhere else.” said an Austrian respondent.(2)

More than 60% of the respondents only use the Slovenian highways for transit (i.e. for a period of less than two days) en route to other countries. According to the current system, they have the choice of purchasing either a six month-vignette, which costs €35 EUR for passenger cars or €17.50 for motor cycles. Fines for being caught without a vignette range from €300 - €800 EUR. Most respondents also emphasised the fact that the current road system makes it extremely difficult to avoid highways completely.

“I consider having to pay a vignette for six months only to transit to the sea is an effrontery. This is why I found an alternative route for my last holidays to Croatia. It meant more kilometres, more time, more traffic on small roads and more noise pollution in the cities.“ (2)

Nearly a third (30,62 %) of the drivers answered that they would buy a vignette for their next trip to Slovenia, “but only if they found no alternative route”. A further 21 % have decided not to drive through Slovenia at all. Alternative routes represent an additional challenge for road safety and yet another burden for the environment.

FIA clubs in Europe support all measures that ensure that Europeans drive the shortest and safest route to their holiday destination. This is all the more important since, according to the flash Eurobarometer survey on tourism published by the European Commission in March 2009, almost half (47%) of all holidaymakers travel to their destination by car or motorbike. The road is definitely the preferred mode.

The Slovenian government has accepted to introduce a shorter term vignette and is proposing the introduction of a seven-day short-stay vignette from 1st July 2009. The current proposal on the table is still being examined by the European Commission who have not yet dropped their official warning to Slovenia on this issue. Slovenia’s proposed solution would provide for two types of vignettes: one-week vignette for 15 EUR and yearly vignette for a price of 95 EUR (instead of 55 EUR currently). The six month vignette will disappear.

FIA calls for the introduction of a shorter term vignette for a fair price, which adequately reflects the real use of visiting motorists.

“Slovenia has long been held up as the most modern, open and progressive of the new accession member states, an example for others to follow” said Bernhard Labudek of ADAC one of the participating automobile clubs. “From the survey it is clear that this vignette question has done much to damage that reputation for our club members. Germans are one of the largest tourist visitor groups to Slovenia and it will take quite some time for tourists regain confidence. Can you imagine, one in five respondents, said that rather than take Slovenia’s modern new highways which are subsidised with European funds they would prefer to take alternative routes in order to avoid paying these over priced tolls.

For more information contact Sinziana Radu Gille at +32 2 282 0816

ENDS

Notes for editors:

1 Participating in this survey together with the FIA European Bureau are: ACI, Italy; ADAC, Germany; HAK, Croatia; MAK, Hungary ; ÖAMTC, Austria; SATC, Slovakia; UAMK, Czech Republic.

2 Extract of the answers to the FIA European Bureau survey

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world’s leading motoring organisation, represents via its affiliated members, national motoring and touring organisations over 100 million motorists worldwide and 34 million motorists in the European Union. Europe’s motoring and touring organisations have as their highest priority to make mobility more sustainable, i.e. more reliable, cleaner and safer while keeping it affordable for all.

The on-line survey is carried out by the FIA European Bureau together with clubs in countries neighbouring Slovenia or with large numbers of members who visit Slovenia.

FIA European Bureau - Rue d'Arlon 53, 1040 Brussels - Belgium - Tel. +32 2 280 07 58 - Fax +32 2 280 07 44

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