Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Chaos at new access to the Algarve

PORTUGAL / Algarve The new toll road that accesses the Algarve after crossing the border into Portugal on the Guadian River is in chaos. The reason is that the international bridge requires payment of a toll as from last weekend - but there is very little clarity about how to pay it, with a confusion of methods and prices: foreign registered cars get options ranging from short stay, rental of special card for longer stays and the Via Verde for permanent stays. But the machine that issues the tickets had broken down, just to complicate matters. The A-22 toll bridge has been very controversial since it was first planned but protests from the Portuguese tourism industry, various workers' and farmers' organizations and regular citizens have been widely ignored. The first to suffer under the new tolls are the small restaurants and businesses in Monte Gordo, Altura, Tavila and others nearby, where Spanish tourists from Huelva used to flock for their Sunday family lunches. The tiny information office was overwhelmed by people, mainly Spanish, asking how to get to where they were going.

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