I still feel as if I’m going on holiday every time I pop over into Spain, one of the many joys of living in the Pyrénées-Orientales. A complete change of country and language without crossing water is a bit of a treat for us Brits!

For motorway users, the recent introduction of a ‘télépéage’ remote control that can be used on both sides of the border means that you can sail blithely through the toll booth without stopping (more or less) and the payment is taken automatically out of your bank account.

You can use the electronic toll payment badge on all motorways in France, and Spain. And particularly for right hand car drivers, it takes all the pain out of passing the péage!

Organised by two companies, Bip&Drive, and Bip&Go, it has taken several years to actually get this show on the road, bringing together the Spanish VIA-T and the French Liber-T des Français.

How does it work?

When you register,(see below) you will receive a remote control ‘beeper’ to place on a bracket (also supplied) in your windscreen. As you approach the reserved lanes (orange T but it work in any lane), reduce your speed and stop briefly. Your details will automatically be recorded, you will hear a beep, and the barrier will rise in response to a signal from your beeper.

Many péages now have lanes for “Liber-T” badge holders where you do not actually have to stop, but simply slow down to 20 or 30km. It takes a bit of courage, as the barrier opens at the very last minute!

The Liber-t Bip&Go badge also works in more than 350 car parks around France and selected airport car parks. Look for car parks with an electronic toll payment system, indicated by the T symbol.

How much does it cost?

The service will cost you an extra €1.70 on top of tolls per month of use (no fee for months where motorways not used) or €15 per year, plus normal toll fees.
Charges are invoiced and taken from your bank or credit card account once a month, according to the rules in each country (VAT etc) and you will receive a monthly detailed internet invoice.

If you already have the Liber-T beeper for France, you should be able to return it and have your original deposit reimbursed. At the time of writing, the télépéage boutique in Rivesaltes is closed for the foreseeable future, and they suggest either taking your remote control to Narbonne télépéage boutique or posting it back. Reimbursement will apparently be automatic into your bank account but no further information or address supplied at present.

The Pluses

– No need to roll down your window at the tolls
– No ticket to take and scrabble around for later
– No coins or card needed.
– Reserved payment lanes (indicated by a ’t’) so no queues.
– Works in more than 350 car parks around France and selected airport car parks. Look for car parks with an electronic toll payment system, indicated by the T symbol.

The Minuses

– A small monthly or yearly fee to pay on top of the cost of the tolls

A couple of things to think about…..

✒ Check the battery occasionally to avoid embarrassment if it doesn’t work and you have to back out (you can also use it through the manned ‘péage’ booths if the worst comes to the worst but there aren’t many around!)

✒ Put it out of sight when you are away from the car as it is a target for thieves

How to register

We all have certain ‘expectations’ about hassle with French admin don’t we, but honestly….c’est du gâteau.
Simply go onto the Bip&Go website at www.bipandgo.com/en/, and fill in the clear and easy form in English.
If you’re a UK resident, click on ‘UK CITIZENS: HERE IS YOUR DEDICATED UK WEBSITE’, and follow the simple instructions, which will lead to payment with your UK card…… et Robert est ton oncle – your electronic badge should arrive within a week


SOME USEFUL VOCAB

un badge de télépéage – remote control
Un boitier – box/casing
La barrière de péage – the toll barrier
Un signal sonore – a ‘beep’
Une voie réservée – reserved lane
circuler – drive
installer sur votre pare-brise – put on your windscreen
emprunter l’autoroute – to take the motorway (literally to borrow)
Je voudrais m’abonner au télépéage – I would like to register for the télépéage
Pouvez vous m’envoyer mon badge en Angleterre (Irelande, Norvège…?) – Could you send the remote control to England (Ireland, Norway…?)

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