Wednesday 20 March 2013

La France : Allons-Y [3]

              mmb : virtuellement en France 

Quel Ouvrage, Le Péage

It comes as a bit of a surprise to we insular Brits to find that the French motorways (les autoroutes) are toll roads (aka "Péage" - say it as "pay" + "ah" +"j" as in jug). Our own M6 toll ...
... is the only UK example; but in France, motorway movement for money is standard. There are three ways to pay; two are obvious, namely cash and debit/credit card, but the third is less intuitive for Johnny English.
That orange-coloured "tis for "Liber-t"; i.e. Liber-tay as in "Liberté", the French for "freedom".
Having bought your "badge" (French for "badge"), the barriers simply rise with an "Open Sesame" functionality and the euros are automatically deducted from your bank account. Presumably the "badge" is fixed to the car's windscreen and electronic wizardry ensures that the car and tollgate communicate with each other (accurately?). Their publicity assures us that this is the way to pay your péage ...
... because you don't have to queue or even lower your window; there is no problem with finding the correct coins and to don't have to hang on to loads of receipts because you get a detailed statement of what had been removed from your account at the end of each month. Road pricing, as oft-debated in the UK, would work on a similar basis; as does the "Tag" system on the M6 toll road.

In France you can examine an on-line "toll table" route-by-route ...
... in order to check your necessary expenditure or, with a little pain and an emptying pocket, just pay up. As an example, here are the fees for the journey from Calais to Paris, a distance of 287km (178 miles).
So David would pay the equivalent of  £54 for such a trip. In fact, David's itinerary ranges much further, often as far south as Lyon.

So our snow-delayed lorry driver, having (eventually) arrived at Calais, sets off on the autoroute network to make his week's deliveries. Compared with UK, French "autoroutes" are almost unbelievably empty ...
... but still with the results of Tuesday's "déneigement" obviously piled at the side of the carriageway. And, do not believe the urban myth that snow only causes problems in the UK. David's enforced delay was because Northern France was utterly crippled by the drifting white stuff, as shown here ...
... with lorries sprayed liberally across all three carriageways of the autoroute!

But, talking of Péage, what happens when the technology fails? Here is a view from David's lorry; he is just about to "Pé" when the sign above his lane turns to an "X"; there's a queue behind him and he is banned from all the other toll gates.

 Blogue prochain 'transport de fret' : Jeudi le vingt-et-un Mars 


  1. Eh bien, Monsieur fbb. En Francais, "j" ne comme pas "jug" - c'est comme "zh".
    Et dans la tunnel sous la Thames a Dartford, il y aussi un badge pour payant - "Dart Tag". Mais la concessionaire est demi-Francais!

  2. Oui, je le connais, Monsieur. Mais pour les gens qui ne parle bien le français il faut explquer simplement, n'est-ce pas?