Currently in the south of France, in fact drove between Cannes
and San Remo (just into Italy) and back yesterday. What an absolute nightmare those tolls are. That's a journey of about an hour. There are four separate ones, they come up about every 20 minutes, all for oddball amounts like EUR 2.30 or 2.90, and the toll booths have been completely automated, no manned booths any more. Coins go one-at-a-time into a little vending-machine type slot which is a huge reach from the driving seat. You can tell the machines must have been hit by people trying to get closer, by a bollard just before them which forces you further out and aay. Typical time for EACH vehicle to negotiate the toll booth is 30 seconds upwards, sometimes over 60 seconds. Several of my coins were rejected at various points but you have absolutely no indication it has come back down the rejected slot apart from the fact that I heard it do so from the drivers' window and the "to pay" message (only in French) doesn't step down, although these LCD displays were so dirty and scratched as to be semi-unreadable. If you use paper money the change (eventually) comes down a really inaccessible slot which needs a huge reach - some would be unable to do so. If the vehicle ahead is foreign, as so many were (including one from Ukraine) you can be sunk. There was advanced signage about manned booths, which was a nonsense because every single booth was now unmanned and automatic.
But the worst point is the mixture of their DART-tag like "T" autopay system, for the unmanned-only booths have a random mixture across the toll plaza of "T" only, cash only, and both, coupled with curved lane approaches which mean you cannot quite see which is which. Going across the plaza, left to right, is something like T, Both, Both, T, Cash, Both, T, Cash, Cash, Both ! This seems a complete change to previous practice where the T" lanes were always segregated and always on the left - there are self-congratulatory notices from the toll operator, Vinci, about the recent "upgrade". The amount of people reversing back at each toll plaza to go for a different lane was unbelievable, I've never seen anything like it, eastbound in the morning every toll plaza seemed to have two or more separate vehicles reversing, this including artic HGVs. Quite how this passed any meaningful risk assessment I cannot imagine, although Risk Assessment and France don't really go together, do they ? !!
It's the most spectacular road for engineering and tunnels (there must be 10 or more east of Nice, several over 1km), but the toll system is beyond belief.
Broadband here also pathetic so more next week ! Rental car (new Seat Leon Diesel) the WORST designed car I have ever driven in my LIFE (and as some of you know, I've driven a fair few), on multiple grounds. However, weather, food, beaches and BA flight to Nice great