Road toll costs, fines and fees in Australia

A CHOICE investigations finds a host of problems with road toll costs and systems across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

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What an excellent, detailed and exposing article!

I had a problem some years ago in Victoria with TransUrban - a vehicle I hadn’t owned for over 6 months skipped a toll and I was sent the ‘fine’ - the company is a teflon coated revenue collector, staffed with people who struggle to grasp explanation provided in words of one syllable and carefully illustrated in crayon.

It’s difficult to imagine how people who use these extended parking lots on a daily basis manage to justify the expense - are they just numb to the constant wallet invasion of the state? It’s also a pain for country people who never normally deal with it, to understand what they have done and how to avoid the compound tax of getting it wrong when they fail to pay or pay incorrectly.

Add this to the plethora of other fines and penalties for all manner of lowest common denominator traffic related ‘crimes’ with little or no justification or basis in true research, imposed and enforced by an increasingly militaristic police and one wonders how the government would fund anything if not for the billions paid into their coffers as a result … but I digress …


Something which may be worth noting in the article is that the automatic tolling systems are usually cheaper than the manual systems (manual being paying the toll after driving along a toll road, rather than automatic where your account is debited).

In Queensland, the transponder is free as long as one either links the account to a credit card for automatic billing or adds credit or minimum $20 to the account. I understand the same transponder can be used should you drive your vehicle interstate.

We have piece of mind and have a transponder with $20 credit should we accidentally end up on a toll road. The fees and admin costs for one or two transgressions is high and financially best to have a transponder for just in case scenarios. I manged to convince my elderly mother to do the same as my father had driven along a toll road by accident and ended up paying dearly for the toll and the administration fee.

We take the loss of interest on the $20 being the rental fee for having the transponder.


Victoria has a $27.50 p.a. minimum for e-tags.


And if you don’t live in the city but occasionally head that direction, bad luck. In Brisbane, for example, there is nothing telling you how much you’re supposed to pay. There are signs telling you where to pay but I’m driving along at 100km and think it a little dangerous to stop in the middle of the motorway to write down a web address.
They say you can call and pay or go online and pay but in both cases you must pay by credit card (damn shame if you don’t have one).
The signs say something like, “Toll avoidance is an offence”, I say “Not advertising the price is an offence”!


In spite of our toll operators and system, I am aware of at least one toll road in Houston TX, USA where if you don’t have a transponder you don’t use the road. Free transponder? Ha! and in the US one should not expect anything from one jurisdiction to work in another although sometimes accidents happen and arrangements are in place - but you cannot depend on it since it is the exception not the rule. Tourists passing through? Too bad for them in some places.

Is our glass half full or half empty?


You’re supposed to key the address straight into your smartphone, not write it down :wink:

“Apparently” if you don’t have a number plate you don’t get a fine, so “a friend of mine” says :wink: - In QLD it is probably cheaper to pay the fine than pay the extortionist rates they charge for an unregistered vehicle permit, but in NSW I reckon it would be cheaper to keep your car on an unregistered vehicle permit if you hit a couple of tollways per day - of course there are time limits and specific route restrictions for unregistered vehicle permits …


And in today’s episode of “You just can’t help stupid”.

I found this one interesting for when you use a hire car. AVIS or Budget.

The good news is they only charge a $3.30 per day service fee. That’s whether you use one toll that day ($3.00 or less for some trips) or spend all day circulating and run up $100.00 trying to find the correct lane to get across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and exit as needed.

Better still it’s cheaper to pay the service fee and toll as an auto debit by credit card against the hire than by cash!

Knowing our one e-tag works for the three big toll road systems, it would seem simpler to just take that with you. But in the finer print, the option might not work as intended.


Interesting … something the ACCC didn’t think of? a ‘cash surcharge’? but then it is a hire car company, the closest thing to organised crime while still being legal … well mostly legal … well as close as real estate investors, taxis, lawyers, politicians … bah … :rofl:


An interesting article regarding a transport driver who is contesting the legality of road tolls in court.

Whilst I reckon he has only 2 chances of winning, none and Buckley’s, what an unbeliveable upset it would be to the system if he actually wins his case.


Business owners are launching a class action against Transurban over their toll fee rip-off charges.

And a link to the class action.

Hopefully they will take them to the cleaners.


Between our elected government stonewalling on robodebt, excessive administration fees, amateurish blunders by the day, and [I’ll stop now hoping to have introduced the point] isn’t this tolls issue actually Very Australian such as we are in these times? :expressionless:

Regarding fairness, due process, integrity and so on, while NZ is not perfect it seems Australia and NZ have swapped places in the ‘decency and good government’ ratings a few years back.


All jokes aside, the cost of fines / tolls / ridiculous slowness of speed limits in Victoria are all reasons why I’ve been cycling to work for the last 10 years.

It’s a pleasure to know how little I’m contributing to the failed state of Chairman Dandemic.


An article claiming ridiculous discrepancies in toll charges.

An article regarding persons being chased for unpaid toll fines in Qld.

A part of it will be due to the mind boggling stupidity and incompetence of TMR Qld and SPER who are so stupid that when a motorist updates their address with TMR Qld, they are too stupid to pass it on to SPER despite having advised SPER of their previous address, and the clowns at SPER claim that it is up to motorists to contact them directly.

And these clowns have the temerity to complain about unpaid fines and to threaten people.


It appears that many of the fines are from licence holders/registered owners of vehicles that have ‘not updated their address or opened their mail’.

SPERS will also look into other contact databases the government may have (in addition to that of DTMR) to see if they can track down the driver/vehicle owner. Linkt and DTMR do not have the same ability which is why it is passed to SPERS.

One can’t blame the government if drivers/owners fail to update their contact details. In Queensland, it is legal requirement to advise DTMR of any change of address within 14 days of a change of address.

Likewise, owners of vehicles are also required to provide change of customer details when owner details change, include contact details. The form to use for change of customer details is here.

I was referring to the fact that when motorists fullfill their obligations by updating their details at TMR Qld, TMR Qld is too stupid to pass it on to SPER despite having provided the previous details to them, and SPER is so stupid that they expect motorists to contact them directly to update their details.

The blind leading the blind.


That isn’t what the article is about. It is clear why the failure to pay tolls occurred, including failure of individuals to update contact details or to open/respond to notices issued. SPERS would have access to licencing information no differently to DTMR. If the DTMR doesn’t have current contact details because the driver/owner failed to update these which is a legal requirement, then it isn’t DTMRs or SPERS fault the contacts are out of date

Sometimes it is not the fault of the driver. I changed home some years ago and did the right thing in notifying my change of address straight away to the license authority.
Unknown to me, a typo of one digit wrong in the address had been entered by the authority and a camera fine notice had been sent to this wrong address for over a year. The people at this address has simply thrown all these notices out.
Eventually a police officer worked out the wrong address and knocked at my door to arrest me for a fine that had now grown from $20 to $300.
Fortunately, I escaped lockup, but from then on I have been very careful about making sure about correct addresses with authorities.