Using Australian Toll Roads when Hiring a Car

Using Australian Toll Roads when Hiring a Car

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It's a sign of the times when just about every major city in Australian today has road tolls in one shape or other, generally on the most useful roads & freeways.  If you're an inter-state or overseas traveller with a hired car then paying for these tolls needs to be done within a certain time frame of travelling to avoid penalties, not only imposed by the Toll Service but also rental car provider.

A Quick Guide to Australian Road Tolls:


Sydney operates one of the most extensive networks of Toll Roads and Bridges in Australia. All use electronic e-tags and only 4 - the Eastern Distributor, M4, M5 and M2 - offer cash booths. Travelling without a Toll Pass incurs fees from the Toll Operator and in the case of a hired car from the Car Rental Company as well, so it pays to plan ahead.
ServiceToll ChargedToll Type
Cross City Tunnel - Main tunnelBoth directionsFixed fee
Cross City Tunnel - Sir John Young CresNorth boundFixed fee
Eastern DistributorNorth boundFixed fee
Lane Cove TunnelBoth directionsFixed fee
M2 - North RydeBoth directionsFixed fee
M2 - Pennant Hills RoadBoth directionsFixed fee
M4Both directionsFixed fee
M5Both directionsFixed fee
M7Both directionsDistance travelled
Military Road E-RampsBoth directionsFixed fee
Sydney Harbour BridgeSouth boundTime of Day
Sydney Harbour TunnelSouth boundTime of Day
As a visitor to Sydney or infrequent user of the toll roads you can register with the New South Wales Road Traffic Authority for an E-Toll pass to pay any toll fees across the state. These are valid for between 1-14 days. For durations longer than 14 days a second pass will need to be obtained.

You can register for a pass online at the NSW RTA website (, via phone on 13 18 65 or at any RTA Registry. Registration can either occur before or up to 48 hours after your trip.

When registering a hired car for an E-Toll pass ensure you advise the RTA of the rental company name and the expected start and end dates & times of your Toll trips. This is to eliminate any chance of you being charged by another renter using the vehicle on the same day.

To qualify for the E-Toll pass you need to travel in the designated ‘e’ pass lane when passing through the Toll Booths.  Your number plate will be photographed and matched to your pass registration.

If you do not travel through the designated lane or travel without a Pass a Toll Notice will be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle. This notice is the full Toll and includes an additional $10 administration charge. If the vehicle has been hired the Car Rental company will likely charge you its own administration fee ($50 is not unheard of) in addition to the RTA costs.


In Melbourne CityLink operate Toll Services from the Tullamarine Freeway, across the Bolte Bridge, through the Burnley and Domain Tunnels that link the South-Eastern suburbs with the West Gate Bridge and Tullamarine Freeway, and a short stretch of road into Exhibition Street on the Southern side of the CBD.

So, if you have picked up a rental car at Melbourne airport and are heading into the city or southern suburbs the likelihood of using CityLink is high. There are a number of different payment options for casual users which can be pre-purchased over the phone including a 24 hour, Weekend or 'Tulla' Pass.

  • The 24 Hour Pass commences when you first use Citylink on your nominated day.
  • The Weekend Pass covers you from midnight Friday to midnight Sunday.
  • The Tulla Pass covers travel between Flemington and Bulla Road in either direction
You can also purchase these passes on the CityLink website ( , via phone on 13 26 29, at the Post Office or selected newsagencies up to 3 days after you travelled.

Failure to pay within the specified time incurs a Late Toll Fee that is charged to the owner of the vehicle and in the case of a rental company you may incur additional administration fees from them.


In Brisbane, Toll Services are concentrated south of the city and to the east running north of the airport and south across the Gateway Bridge to feed into the Pacific Highway and Gateway Extension Motorway.

Toll Services operate on the following and all operate under a fixed fee system:

  • Gateway Bridge
  • Gateway Motorway
  • Gateway Extension Motorway
  • Logan Motorway
Future plans include the Northern Link extending the Western Freeway into Brisbane inner city Bypass (2014) and the new M7 Motorway (2012) with the CLEM7 section including the 5km city tunnel to be opened in 2010. Another project due for completion next year is the Go Between Bridge linking Southern Brisbane with Milton.

Tolls for the CLEM7 and the Go Between Bridge connection will be published closer to the opening of the service in 2010.

On the Logan and Gateway Motorways tolls can be paid using the viavideo pass system ( Passes can be purchased by credit card or cash.

Credit Card – once pre-registered your credit card will be debited with tolls incurred during your nominated travel period (1 to 30 days).  Alternatively you can pay up to 3 days after your trip.

Purchase via:

Cash - a choice of viavideo passes allow you to pay for single, return or multi-travel journeys. Multi-travel passes come in pre-set denominations of $3, $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, $30 and $50.  Unused credit on cash passes will expire if not used within 30 days and no refunds or transfers are available.

Purchase via:

  • Participating go Via Retailers
  • Customer Service Centres
Finally, if you are travelling in your own vehicle and have a e-tag from your home city it is likely that this will be accepted by Toll Operators in other Australian cities and therefore there is no need to purchase a pass. Visit the Operators' websites to confirm this before travelling.

ChrisC DriveNow Partner and sometime Blog Contributor

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