SURVEY PROVOKES HUGE INTEREST
Publication date: 20 April 2009
European motorists have been sharing experiences and views about the Slovenian vignette system in an on-line survey (see www.fiabrussels.com) made available in six languages by participating FIA clubs in Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Slovakia. The survey, particularly aimed at visitors in neighboring countries to Slovenia, has received some 5000 replies.
“The entire system is misleading and outrageous,” said one respondent.
“The road we travel between Croatia and Italy is not a toll road. Upon entering Slovenia, there are no warnings that everyone must have a sticker to get to the exit border,” said the driver.
Common to many of the 5000 or so replies, the driver was then required asked to pay a “fine” of EUR 300 plus the cost of the sticker. The fine could be reduced to EUR 150 plus EUR 35 for the sticker upon paying cash.
“This is nothing short of highway robbery on the part of the Slovenian government,” said the motorist.
The absurdity of the system was shown by an Austrian motorist, forced to pay EUR 35 for the six month vignette to travel just 15 kilometres across the border on a ski holiday.
“If you calculate the distance from the hotel to the border – and not all of that is motorway – then it was far too much,” said the driver. “I have given up the idea of a Slovenia/Croatia holiday as I am not prepared to pay for a half-year vignette. We even decided not to go to Maribor for a short stay,” said another motorist.
Slovenia's vignette system also appears to be hurting its own tourism industry. This is clearly evident from the replies where many drivers express the desire to avoid Slovenia as far as possible in the future. Even where motorists – whether for family or professional reasons – have to travel through Slovenia, the bitterness caused by the discriminatory vignette system does nothing to favour the local economy.
“I will not leave any euro behind, whether at a petrol station or restaurant. Clearly, Slovenia wants to have all the benefits of EU membership without caring about its duties,” said another traveller.
Tourist and other facilities just over the border in Slovenia are being hit hard too. One visitor to Casino Mond, less than a kilometre away from the border with Austria, has vowed never to go back until the vignette system is changed.
“We'll travel to Croatia via Hungary until there is a more reasonable system,” said another traveller from Slovakia.
Even professional drivers are unhappy with the system despite the fact that a six-month vignette is cheaper than a kilometre-based system for frequent drivers. The six-month vignette only guarantees long queues and sub-standard roads.