Changes in the regulation of the Norwegian toll road domain
As part of the Road Toll Reform as described in Report No. 25 to the Storting (2014-2015), the role as AutoPASS service provider
is clarified and made independent of Norwegian toll road companies. The purpose of the new arrangement is to avoid cross-subsidising
and to facilitate increased efficiency, usability and service development in the Norwegian toll road domain.
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is hosting a public consultation on the regulation on toll service provision for
tolls and ferry tickets – the Toll Service Provider Regulation. According to the proposed regulation, any company or other
legal entity that meets the given requirements for approval will be granted the right to conclude agreements with Norwegian
toll chargers (toll road companies or ferry operators) in order to offer services for payment of tolls and ferry transport
via AutoPASS Samvirke. AutoPASS Samvirke being the network for electronic payment of tolls on public roads and ferry tickets
on public ferry services in Norway. While this has occurred to some extent through the EasyGo interoperable system and there
has been a provision in the Norwegian EETS regulation for such service offerings, the new Toll Service Provider Regulation
establishes a more explicit and harmonised framework. As part of the regulation, The Norwegian Public Roads Administration
and the Norwegian toll chargers are obliged to facilitate the entry of new toll service providers.
A consequence of the road toll reform is that existing Norwegian toll road companies that also acts as toll service providers
must close down their service provider function. Either through a demerger or sale of the customer portfolio.
The road toll reform will establish a new market for toll service providers in Norway, which will enable companies or other
legal entities, both Norwegian and foreign, to be approved as a toll service provider in Norway.
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration sends a letter to existing toll service providers and other stakeholders to inform
on the proceedings of the preparations for this new market. This information will also be distributed to various industry
organisations in sectors that may be interested in the new market, as well as to any new interested parties who contacts the
Norwegian Public Roads Administrations. This is done to ensure equal treatment of parties interested in the new market.
Description of the toll service provider function, and the market for toll service providers
In 2017, almost NOK 10.2 billion were collected on Norwegian toll roads through 63 road toll projects. Most of these projects
are now part of one of Norway’s five regional toll road companies. The toll revenues stem from approximately 650 million toll
transactions, and approximately 80% of these transactions are collected through toll service provider arrangements. The toll
road companies collect the remaining 20 % of these transactions themselves.
The user agreement between the toll service provider and an end user gives the end user the benefit of discounted toll rates
and one bill for all toll transactions in Norway. The user agreement is also currently a requirement for the exemption scheme
for zero emission vehicles. At the start of 2018, Norwegian toll service providers had electronic tags in 2.2 million vehicles.
In order to act as a toll service provider in Norway after the Toll Service Provider Regulation comes into force, a company
or other legal entity must be approved as an AutoPASS service provider by the Norwegian Public Roads administration. This
grants the company a right to enter into a toll service provider agreement with Norwegian toll chargers. The company is obliged
to enter into agreement with all Norwegian toll chargers, hence provide a full coverage of the Norwegian domain. As an AutoPASS
service provider, the company is responsible for payments to the toll charger for the service usage (e.g. toll transactions)
of all its customers with a valid user agreement. This means that an AutoPASS service provider gains a right and obligation
to charge for the service use of customers with a user agreement. The user’s payment of a toll transaction to its AutoPASS
service provider shall be deemed to fulfil the user’s payment obligations towards the relevant toll charger. Furthermore,
the issuer is obliged to pay the operator for the customer’s service use - regardless of the user’s payment to the service
The AutoPASS service provider is entitled to a remuneration from the toll charger for services rendered. The Ministry of Transport
and Communication sets the rates for the remuneration. The remuneration will be calculated based on the toll transaction amount
and/or the number of transactions. Currently the rate is 1.75 % of the toll transaction amount. The rate, both size and methodology
will be evaluated as part of the implementation of the Toll Service Provider Regulation. This will include the treatment of
remuneration for toll transactions with a tariff of NOK 0, e.g. zero emission vehicles. The remuneration is common throughout
the Norwegian toll domain and cannot be negotiated by the toll service provider or the toll chargers. The Ministry of Transport
and Communications will have the authority to change the remuneration based on an assessment of the market situation. If the
remuneration is changed, toll chargers and service providers notified in due time to ensure predictability.
The tasks of an AutoPASS service provider will include:
- conclusion and management of contracts with users of the road
- to provide a technical solution for the detection of the vehicle (electronic tag)
- collection of payment
- customer service for users
The Ministry has established requirements for the user contract, sales document, fees and public provisions. Apart from this,
the service provider is free to set its own terms, including requirement for financial security towards the user.
Existing Norwegian toll service providers will not be allowed to provide any supplementary services to their customers that
is not part of the basic toll service provisioning as long as they are a part of a toll road company. This limitation does
not apply to AutoPASS toll service providers approved by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration under the Toll Service
Provider Regulation. An AutoPASS toll service provider may provide supplementary services through extended use of the electronic
tag or through the user agreement itself. Such supplementary services are not explored by existing Norwegian toll service
providers, and may post an opportunity for new AutoPASS service providers.
Tentative schedule and plan for the implementation of the Toll Service Provider Regulation
1. Public consultation on the Toll Service Provider Regulation
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration hosted a public consultation on the Toll Service Provider Regulation with a deadline
of 17/8-18. The consultation provided interested parties such as future AutoPASS service providers, a more detailed insight
into the regulatory framework of the market for toll service provisions and a possibility to contribute with their opinions
2. Market dialogue
In addition to the public consultation on the regulatory framework, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration hosted a market
dialogue meeting on 29 June.
3. Approval procedure
In order to act as a toll service provider in Norway, approval must be obtained. Please note that toll service providers operating
in Norway as of today, also have to apply when the regulation takes effect.
Parties planning to seek approval as AutoPASS toll service provider, may register their interest with the Norwegian Public
Roads Administration already at this stage. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will provide all interested parties
with access to up-to-date information about the market, the regulation and approval process. The information will be available
at this website.
To gain approval as an AutoPASS service provider the applier must conform to certain requirements regarding technical equipment,
competence, economy and reputation. These requirements are outlined in more detail in the consultation paper for the Toll
Service Provider Regulation. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will provide further details on specific requirements
as soon as they are ready.
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration plan to open the application procedure well ahead of the date of the regulations
entry into force. However, the formal processing of applications will not start until after it has come into effect. All applications
received up until and shortly after the regulation has come into effect, will be assessed concurrently. Approvals for all
applications in this initial round will be granted at the same date to ensure a level playing field. In the period prior to
the regulation coming into effect, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration will answer any questions from and provide information
to interested parties. This is to ensure equal treatment and facilitate an expedient approval process.
The regulation is planned to enter into force 1 January 2019.
Please note that although The Norwegian Public Roads Administration may handle applications in English, the language of legal
documents will be Norwegian.
4. Transitional provisions
There will be a transition period where existing Norwegian toll service providers, which are part of a toll road company,
may obtain a time limited exempt from requirements in the regulation. The exempt is set to last for a maximum of 18 months
following the entry into force of the regulation. During this period, the toll road company must demerge or sell their toll
service provider operations. Each toll road company decides on the sale or demerger options.
Note that existing Norwegian toll service providers will not be allowed to provide any supplementary services to their customers
that is not part of the basic toll service provisioning. Nor are they permitted to perform any commercial activities besides
basic toll service provisions. This includes marketing.