Vehicle classification system at toll stations and on motorways

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How are vehicles classified on motorways?

Tolls are crossing points where vehicles must pay a fee to access a main road. It should be noted that rates at these toll booths vary depending on the type of vehicle (motorcycle, car, lorry, etc.). Find out more about vehicle classification on motorways.

What criteria is used for classifying vehicles at toll stations?

Motorway rates in France depend on the category of your vehicle. These categories are, of course, the same for all motorways in the country. They are accessible on site and depend on the following criteria:

  • • Total vehicle height

  • • Total authorised gross weight

  • • The number of axles in contact with the ground.

How many vehicle categories are there?

Category 1 : light vehicles

This category includes vehicles with a total height less than or equal to 2 metres and a gross vehicle weight (GVW) less than or equal to 3.5 tonnes, including:

  • • Saloon cards, coupes, convertibles, estate cars, or single-seater cars

  • • Small utility vehicles

  • • Any of the aforementioned vehicles towing a trailer (with a total height less than or equal to 2 metres).

Category 2 : intermediate vehicles

This category includes vehicles with a total height less than or equal to 3 metres and a gross vehicle weight of less than or equal to 3.5 tonnes. Most often, this includes:

  • • Large utility vehicles

  • • Most campervans

  • • Pick-up trucks with a habitable space

  • • Category 1 vehicles that are towing a caravan or trailer with a total height of between 2 and 3 meters (excluding load)

Category 3: HGVs, coaches, and other 2-axle vehicles

This category includes vehicles with a total height more than 3 metres and a gross vehicle weight of more than 3.5 tonnes.

Category 4: HGVs, and other 3-axle vehicles

These are vehicles of more than 3 metres in height, with a gross vehicle weight of more than 3.5 tonnes, and which have 3 or more axles. This category may also be applicable to vehicles towing a trailer with a height greater than 3 metres.

Category 5: motorcycles, sidecars, and trikes

These are two-wheeled vehicles (including sidecars), tricycles and even quadricycles

How do I identify motorways in France?

If you take a motorway, you can see a blue sign which is marked, at the top with the letter "A" followed by a number. If you are at the entrance to a toll motorway, the word "toll” (péage) will appear on the sign. If there is the letter "E", it means that you are on a European road.

There are two types of tolls on the motorway: the open-system toll and the closed-system toll. If you drive on the former, you will only come across one toll barrier, at the entrance or at the exit, and you will pay a fixed amount. On the latter, the most common in France, you will have to take a ticket at the first toll station. You will only pay for the section travelled at the end of the motorway or at the toll gate when leaving the motorway.

To avoid having to stop at the toll, you can subscribe to the Bip&Go electronic toll badge! Using this, you’ll be able to use the electronic toll lanes marked with a "t". You will be billed directly by direct debit the month following your trip.

Which toll lane should I take when paying?

Motorway toll booths are spread over different lanes. On top of each one is a panel to allow vehicles to see the payment methods accepted:

  • • Red cross: lane closed

  • • Green arrow: lane open, all payment methods accepted

  • • Blue coins: payment by cash

  • • Blue man: agents present, all methods of payment accepted

  • • Blue rectangle with the words "CB" (credit cards): payment by credit card only

  • - orange "t": lane reserved for vehicles with an electronic toll badge

Which categories of vehicles can use the Bip&Go badge?

The Bip&Go badge can be used by the following vehicle categories: 1, 2 and 5 (motorbikes). Depending on the badge you have, it allows you to travel on all toll motorways in France, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.
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