ATTENTION TO ILLEGAL PASS CLAIMS ON PRIVATE HIGHWAYS AND RELATED PENALTIES! (JULY 2017)

The construction, maintenance and operation of highways and the service facilities are under the responsibility of General Directorate of Highways as a general rule in Turkey. However, some might have been granted or transferred to joint stock companies named as “operator company” for a certain period of time pursuant to

  • Law on Assignment of Establishments except General Directorate of Highways regarding Construction, Maintenance and Operation of Access Controlled Highway numbered 3645.
  • Law on Establishment of Certain Investments and Services under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Model numbered 3996.
  • Law on Application of Privatization.

The title of highways, which the operation right have been granted or transferred to the operator company still remain to the name of Turkish State. However, due to a special agreement named as BOT, revenues shall be collected by the operator company(s) for a certain period of time.

Such recent examples of BOT in Turkey are Osmangazi Bridge, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and Euroasia Tunnel highways of İstanbul can be listed as the most important and recently finished BOT projects which their right of operation have been granted or transferred as per abovementioned Laws.

The tolls on abovementioned highways are being collected by the operator companies. The amount of tolls, the rate of increase, the vehicles which have the right of free pass and other subjects are regulated in the BOT contracts signed between companies and General Directorate of Highways. However, the tolls are collected via the systems called as Fast Pass System(“HGS” in Turkish) and Automatic Pass System(“OGS” in Turkish).

As per Law No. 6001, the operator companies have been authorized to collect a certain amount of tolls due to breach of payment of highway toll rules. Due to the alteration of 27.03.2015, the amount of tolls required for the breach has been determined to be applied as eleven times of the ordinary highway toll based on the distance taken by the violator. Meanwhile, the Law numbered 6001 provided a relief that the abovementioned sanction due to breach shall not be applied in case the violators would pay the due toll in fifteen days following the breach.

In Eurasia Tunnel, which has started to provide service on 20.12.2016; the tolls are collected via the systems of HGS / OGS. Pursuant to Article 30 of Law No. 6001, the operator company is authorized to collect tolls, which amount eleven times of Euroasia Tunnel ordinary toll tariff, due to breach of payment. Nowadays, it has been mentioned by many consumers that the operator company has unjustly started to demand tolls due to breach of payment from the vehicle owners with the allegation that the Euroasia Tunnel toll has not been duly collected, although there is sufficient money in HGS/OGS systems or there is an automatic payment order granted to the relevant authority.

In order to avoid paying unjust toll claims, the users of Euroasia Tunnel, who allege that there is no breach as it has been stated in the notification under the name of “Euroasia Tunnel Breach of Pass” sent by the operator company, should apply to the authorities by presenting the documents which proves that there is sufficient funds in their accounts or payment order via credit cards. Pursuant to Consumer Protection Law numbered 6502 and for the year 2017, if the amount of alleged toll breach is;

  • under 2.400(two thousands four hundreds) Turkish Liras, then district consumer rights committee,
  • between 2.400(two thousands four hundreds) Turkish Liras and 3.610(three thousands six hundreds ten) Turkish Liras, then provincial consumer rights committee,  
  • under 3.610(three thousands six hundreds ten) Turkish Liras, then provincial consumer rights committee,  
  • (for 2017) between 2.400(two thousands four hundreds) Turkish Liras and 3.610(three thousands six hundreds ten) Turkish Liras,  

is the competent authority for the objection. If the amount of toll due to breach is more than abovementioned amounts, then the vehicle owners must directly apply to the relevant consumer courts. In case, the vehicle owner is a legal entity, there is no doubt that they must apply to the commercial courts.

Otherwise, the operator company may take legal actions against the vehicle owners and collect the unjust demand.