Holidaymakers using toll roads are reminded to pay the charges within five working days to avoid a $4.90 administration fee.
Motorists heading out or returning from popular holiday hotspots such as Omaha, Mangawhai, Waipu Cove and the Bay of Islands can use the Auckland Northern Gateway toll road on State Highway 1, bypassing Orewa. The one-way charge for a car is $2.40.
Within the Bay of Plenty, the Tauranga Eastern Link toll road is at the Domain Road interchange near Papamoa. The third toll road at Takitimu Drive can be used to get to the Port of Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, bypassing Tauranga city centre. One-way charges for a car are $2.10 and $1.90 respectively.
New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) spokesperson Andy Knackstedt said 341,136 people have set up an online account to pay toll charges automatically. Those who haven't set up an account or prepaid online are given five working days to pay before they're sent a 28-day notice, including a $4.90 administration fee.
"After five working days, if the toll remains unpaid we issue a toll payment notice to the person registered in relation to the vehicle on the Motor Vehicle Register. This includes the unpaid toll and an administration fee of $4.90," Knackstedt confirmed.
"As of today [January 18], we have 341,136 prepaid account holders...we want to make it hassle-free so we provide multiple options to make it quick and easy to pay tolls in advance or within five days of a trip," Knackstedt added.
If someone else was driving and is responsible for paying the toll road cost, the registered vehicle owner can complete an online statutory declaration. This transfers responsibility for the charge to the driver at the time.
New Zealand Automobile Association (AA) spokesperson Barney Irvine said he wouldn't be surprised if many holidaymakers were stung by the $4.90 fee.
"Despite best intentions, it's exactly the sort of thing that slips your mind when you're heading home at the end of a holiday," Irvine said.
He suggests motorists either set up a toll road account or pay for tolls before they travel.
"This might not be a priority for many road users at the moment, but we're going to see more toll roads across the country in the years ahead… in Auckland, we might even see some sort of congestion charge in the next four-to-five years," Irvine added.
Options to pay toll road charges are: