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20.2.2024
Ing. Ladislav Luka, Fuel expert

e-Toll for Buses Over 3.5t in Hungary: A Comprehensive Guide

The toll road structure in Hungary is changing significantly. Effective from 1 April 2024, the toll for buses weighing more than 3.5 tones will transition to an e-Toll system and not by use of conventional e-vignette as was used before This is a mandatory requirement under Act LXVII of 2013 and amendments made thereafter. Its objective is to make toll collections easier and help traffic flow better. This article covers what these changes encompass. It also reveals the benefits of this procedure while travelling through Hungary for bus companies and drivers.

e-Toll for Buses Over 3.5t in Hungary: A Comprehensive Guide

Essential Requirements for Operating Buses on Hungarian Highways

Driving a bus on Hungarian roads, particularly under the new e-Toll system, one needs to fulfil various conditions.

  • Vehicle Registration: Any bus which weighs more than 3.5 tones must be registered with the appropriate Hungarian authorities. This encompasses the compliance of safety and environmental requirements stipulated by Hungarian law.
  • e-Toll System Registration: To pay the toll fee, vehicles of this category should be enrolled in the e-Toll system. This is an important step to being able to comply with the new requirements relating to tolling.
  • Installation of an On-Board Unit (OBU):  Installation of an OBU in the bus is required so it can keep track of the distance travelled on toll roads and calculate the toll fee accordingly. This device is critical to the e-Toll system, as it monitors kilometres travelled on toll highways and calculates fees based on these figures.
  • Valid Driving License and Permits: The drivers need to possess a proper driving licence for the concerned bus category. You may also need to obtain particular permits depending on the size of your bus and its nature of use, for example, in transporting passengers.
  • Compliance with Traffic Regulations: Ensuring drive safe practices, you are obliged to comply with Hungarian traffic rules. These include speed regulations, road signs and commercial vehicle rules.
  • Insurance: Appropriate vehicle insurance is mandatory. It should cover both the vehicle and its passengers.
  • Regular Vehicle Maintenance: Keeping the bus in good working order through regular maintenance and adherence to safety checks is extremely important.
  • Ad-hoc Route Tickets for Non-registered Vehicles: If the bus is not registered in the e-Toll system, you can purchase route tickets for specific trips on a temporary basis. 

By complying with these requirements, bus operators can easily operate their vehicles on Hungarian roads without any hassle. This is consistent with the recent guidelines for implementing an e-Toll system.

Understanding the New Regulations for Buses on Hungary's Roads

Starting from 1 April 2024, a new e-Toll will be applied to buses and coaches over the weight of 3.5t with a charge based on distance travelled. After this date, the B2 vehicle category (buses with a seating capacity of more than nine, including the driver’s seat) will be abolished in the e-vignette system. This transition means that toll for buses will become fairer and more accurate to align with actual road use as a basis for payment.

What is the legal basis for these changes?

The following legal regulations form the basis for the changes.

  • Act LXVII of 2013 on Distance-Based Tolls Payable for the Use of Motorways, Expressways and Main Roads (Toll Act), as amended from 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024;
  • Decree 45/2020 (XI. 28.) ITM of the Minister for Innovation and Technology on motorways, speedways and main roads subject to toll payment and on the tolls payable (‘Toll Decree’), as amended from 1 January 2024 and 1 April 2024.

Mandatory e-Toll: Steps for Compliance

To comply with the new regulations and get more from toll bus owners and companies need to:

  • Register in the e-TOLL system via Eurowag or other provider: Starting from mid-January 2024, buses over 3.5t in weight should be registered in the e-Toll system.
  • Install an On-Board Unit: The Eurowag EVA OBU is the best option, with a user-friendly interface and multiple language support.
  • Ensure Correct Classification: Buses must be correctly classified in the system to avoid penalties.

The e-Toll System Explained

The implementation of OBUs within Hungary’s e-Toll system is an important move toward the modernisation of tolling infrastructure in the country. It provides a better way of collecting tolls that is effective, efficient and accurate.

The introduction of the e-Toll system in Hungary brings a major change to toll administration pertaining to buses over 3.5 tones. At the heart of this new system are On-Board Units (OBUs). Here’s an overview of how OBUs function in this context:

  • Registration and Installation: The first step for bus operators is the registration of their vehicles in the e-Toll system. After registration, an OBU should be fitted on every bus. This unit is a core element of the e-Toll system, which registers and transmits information about the vehicle’s travel.
  • Distance-Based Toll Calculation: In contrast to the fixed-rate e-vignette, OBU toll calculation is based on real distance. This approach guarantees a more fair charge where payments are based on the scale of road use. 
  • Using the toll calculator: The toll cost calculator from NTPS Plc. is immediately accessible – in Hungarian and English – at utdijkalkulacio.hu. In order to track a path, you need information of the route and vehicle details. Upon entering a route, you will be able to enter the maximum of 10 address points – either town/settlement or an exact number. You can drag the different address points on a map. Once the planning process is finished, a detailed route for active routes can be printed by clicking on the printer icon.
  • Automated Toll Payments: The OBU computes the toll fees automatically as the bus passes through toll areas. This automation eliminates the need for manual payments. This speeds up the process and makes it more efficient together with postpaid mode (drive first, pay later).
  • Real-Time Data Transmission: There is steady transmission of travel data from the OBUs to the toll operator’s system. This real-time transfer guarantees correct billing. It can also help to control the traffic and route selection.
  • Compliance with Regulations: The use of OBU by bus operators means that they are able to comply with toll regulations as provided for by the rules and regulations governing Hungary’s toll system. It prevents penalties for non-payment or underpayment of tolls.

Tips for Effective e-Toll Cost Management

e-Toll cost management is a key contribution to the profitability of bus operators in Hungary while adhering to road usage legislation. Here are some strategies to effectively manage these costs:

  • Optimise Vehicle Use: Always track and analyse how your vehicles are being used. Avoid unnecessary toll routes where possible and combine passengers to optimise each journey as much as possible.
  • Stay Informed on Rates: Find out the current e-Toll fees because they can differ based on the nature of the road and vehicle weight or emission class. The e-Toll system’s website provides a vehicle classifier that can be utilised to estimate the charges in advance.
  • Regular Account Monitoring: If you have a prepaid account, check and manage your balance to avoid depleting all funds. When using postpaid accounts, monitor the costs of monthly tolls to avoid surprise high charges.

Benefits of Eurowag's Enhanced Vehicle Assistant (EVA) OBU

Eurowag understands that bus operators have disparate needs. Whether you run a small fleet or manage many buses, solutions tailored to your toll volume and unique needs are available.

  • Ease of Use: The ease of the operations is facilitated by its full-colour display and multi-language support.
  • Comprehensive Service: In addition to managing the toll for buses via OBU, telematics and fuel theft protection are provided for free, helping operators get more from TOLL.
  • Efficient Business Management: All invoices are aggregated by the self-care portal, removing administrative overhead together with just one payment for all the tolls.

Leveraging Technology for Route Optimization

  • Utilise Eurowag’s Smart Solutions: Eurowag’s EVA platform offers multiple smart solutions, which are immensely helpful in route optimisation and very efficient in minimising toll costs. 
  • Eurowag's Route Planner: Use Eurowag's Route Planner to locate the most budget-friendly routes for a trip. This tool can help you calculate the best route, including toll roads, and make informed decisions about your routes.
  • Real-Time Data and Analytics: Eurowag offers real-time data and analytics regarding vehicle performance and costs. This information may be extremely valuable for strategic decisions, the goal of which lies in reducing costs and enhancing operational efficiency.

By following these tips and using technological tools such as the solutions proposed by Eurowag, bus operators can efficiently control their e-Toll charges and plan routes wisely with lower toll costs. This approach ensures that they comply with toll regulations and adds to the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their operations.

Future of Road Travel: Adapting to e-Toll with Eurowag's Technology

The introduction of the e-Toll payment system, enhancing the way toll for buses is handled, represents a significant step in modernising Hungary's road toll systems and promoting drive safe initiatives. Knowledge of these changes and adherence to new regulations will facilitate operations for bus operators along the country’s roads, as well as in neighbouring countries. Eurowag’s offerings, especially the EVA OBU, offer an all-in-one, user-friendly, and effective solution to managing such new toll requirements.