“Kraków-Katowice is one of the most expensive highways in Europe,” said Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Przemysław Koperski recently. How much does it cost to drive on this route compared to sections of other European motorways? It’s expensive.
Will management of the A4 motorway return to state institutions in 2027? This is one of the questions that Przemysław Koperski, Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and MP of the Left, heard in the program “24 Questions” on Polskie Radio 24 at the end of January. “I am in favor of such a solution that the A4 motorway, and in the future also the A2 motorway, will return to the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways, so that they will also be covered by this free passage for cars up to three and a half tons” – yes he replied. In 2027 expires concession of Stalexport Autostrada Małopolska (SAM) for the operation of the A4 motorway. Under the concession agreement, SAM is then obliged to hand over the management of the route to the state.
As the Left politician noted, from 2023 free is the A1 motorway, i.e. the Amber motorway. Let us remind you that from September 4, 2023, category 1 and 1A vehicles (passenger cars and motorcycles) are exempt from fees for driving on the A1 motorway on the Gdańsk-Toruń section. According to the decision of the Ministry of Infrastructure, the fee exemption was to last until the end of the year. At the end of December 2023, the resort extended them by the end of 2024. From July 1, 2023 travel on sections of state highways managed by the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways is free of charge, i.e. A2 Konin-Stryków and A4 Wrocław-Sośnica. This applies to passenger cars and motorcycles.
“But the same when it comes to the A4 and the future of the A2. It is very important to increase safety if it will help people who cannot afford to travel on the motorway, and yet Kraków-Katowice is one of the most expensive highways in Europe (bold from the editor), they will move this traffic there, so these roads are safer. If we manage to avoid even one accident, one fatality, save one child, one driver, it is worth doing, this is the most important thing,” added the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure.
There are also three concession sections in Poland: A1 Rusocin-Nowa Wieś (approximately 152 km), A2 Konin-Świecko (approximately 255 km, of which the Poznań bypass section of approximately 17 km is free of charge) and A4 Katowice-Kraków (approximately 60 km), on which tolls are collected by the concessionaires managing the motorway.
Is the section of the A4 motorway between Krakow and Katowice really one of the most expensive motorways in Europe? To check this, we compared the cost of driving per kilometer on this route with the cost of driving per kilometer on ten other European toll motorways.
Highway in Poland, price as in Spain
How does the cost of traveling on the A4 motorway between Katowice and Kraków compare to other European motorways? We compared the cost of driving one kilometer on this Polish toll motorway and on other ten motorways in eight European countries (prices in euro). These are toll roads selected by the Konkret24 editorial team in Greece, Croatia (two routes each), Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Serbia. The summary concerns tolls for traveling by passenger car. When preparing them, we relied on official information from the websites of the managers of these roads, including travel price calculators. Where possible, we took into account the distances between gates in our estimates.
Thus, driving on the A4 motorway on the Katowice-Kraków route costs a total of PLN 30. Toll route between the toll collection at the Brzęczkowice and Balice junctions. The route is 52 km long. After converting the fee into euros, the cost of traveling one kilometer of this route is: 0.13 euros (after average NBP exchange rate of February 2, 20224). This is the highest toll per kilometer of the route. The same amount is charged per kilometer on the toll section of the Spanish AP-68 motorway on the route Zaragoza-Bilbao.
Third was the A2 motorway in Croatia on the A2 Zagreb-Macelj route – 0.12 euros per kilometer. Then the route Paris-Orléans running along the A6b and A10 motorways – 0.09 euros. The next two tours cost money 0.08 euros per kilometer. They were: M50 running around Dublin, the capital of Ireland, and the A1 route on a section Rome-Naples in Italy. Slightly cheaper – 0.07 euros per kilometer – it turned out to be a highway in Greece on a section Evzoni-Athens. Driving one kilometer on the Zagreb-Split route in Croatia costs money 0.06 euros. It’s the same amount per kilometer of driving Athens to Kalamata. A bit less on the A22 motorway in Portugal en route Odiáxere-Monte Gordo – 0.05 euros. The cheapest in the ranking is the cost of the route Novi Sad-Vranje in Serbia – 0.04 euros per kilometer.
It is worth recalling that from April 2024, the toll on the Katowice-Kraków route will increase. “Drivers of category 1 vehicles, i.e. other than motorcycles, will pay PLN 16 for passing through the toll gate, not PLN 15 as before” – she informed at the end of January this year “Rzeczpospolita”. This means that the total cost of traveling along the route will increase to PLN 32.
In addition to the toll toll system known from Polish roads, vignettes are used in many European countries. This is proof of the fee for using designated expressways and motorways, regardless of the number kilometers traveled. The vignette is purchased for a specific period of time, e.g. a day, 10 days or a month. The vignettes come in the form of a sticker on the windshield. There is also an option of an electronic vignette online. Drivers can use vignettes in, among others, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
For example, in Austria the price of a one-day vignette is EUR 8.60. On Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic the shortest possible validity period of the vignette is 10 days. Drivers will pay approximately EUR 16.67 (6,400 forints), EUR 12 and approximately EUR 12.46 (Czech crowns) for them, respectively. Vignette prices vary depending on the validity period and the category to which the vehicle belongs. You may be fined for not having an electronic vignette or a sticker on your windshield.
Main photo source: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel