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    • #470
      Barry & Maggie
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      Fred & Gill

      Member
      Posts: 463
      Just returned from a trip to Provence during which we used Motorways virtually all the way there and back – and did not shy away from tolls at all.

      The difference on this trip was that we were only ever charged at Class 2 – no hassle, no problems thats what we were charged and all the tolls were automated.

      The rules I am certain have not changed (checked before we made the trip) – we are over 3 m and therefore on the automatic tolls would not qualify for Class 2, or to cheat with the Tag.

      For my part the only change that I have made since my last trip (2015) is to change the old Michelin XP hard camper tyres to Michelin Agilis campers. These do feel softer and give a better ride. I took the decision to only inflate them to 70psi and to keep the water and fuel topped up between stages hoping to keep the vehicle lower (as the Exsis is only marginally above 3m).

      Have I finally lost the plot or is ther another explanation?

      For a new experienceon our way back, which turned out to be a real pleasure, we went to the ‘Le Salon des Vehicules De Loisirs’  (Paris Motorhome Show). Apart from the hectic Paris motorway traffic dealt with expertly by satnav it was all so easy.

      The entrance and parking was so straightforward, and so close to the show entrance – although I estimate there  must have easily been 2000 motorhomes camped up( we had 2nights/2 show days). The show was so relaxing without the crowds as at the NEC and we enjoyed evening entertainment and food – a great experience to round off our holiday.

      Fred


      Ruby

      October 10, 2017 at 5:03 PM
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      Barry & Maggie
      Administrator
      Posts: 1280
      Thanks for that Fred.

      Very interesting…  Our experience is slightly different to yours, as I’ll explain…

      My first observation is that, because the ‘new’ ride height of our vehicles (with almost empty tanks) is only fractionally over the 3m height limit for French Autoroute.    The ride height  now, 12 or 13 years later, when the springs have settled or sagged a bit, tanks have a bit more water/gas/diesel in them, your new tyres maybe a bit lower profile, plus all the bits and bobs of luggage we accumulate inside, may have depressed your Exsis to below 3m?  You’ll need to check to be sure – an excuse to get your scaffold tower back into action?!!

      Because you used the automated tolls without problem, it’s not that the operator in the booth adjusted it for you so your Exsis is definitely below 3m height.

      We have a satellite dish on our roof, which DEFINITELY pushes us over the 3m height limit.  However (and not everyone is aware of this) the height calculated by the Autoroute operator must be only the vehicle itself and NOT including any accessories fitted, such as aerials, roof racks, etc.

      So on each of the toll stations that we were initially charged as Classe 3, Maggie leapt to the rescue to point out to the operator that we were “une petite camping-car avec une antenne!” .  In every instance bar one, the charge was immediately altered to Classe 2 and the barrier raised.

      On just one occasion, Maggie had to have more of a conversation with the operator, but after that brief exchange, the charge was changed to Classe 2.

      So, if you are having problems being charged at the Classe 3 rate AND you have extra equipment on the roof, you should argue an unfair charge.  This is what the Autoroutes.FR site says about height…

      “(The following) Does not affect the calculation of the total height:

      – Loading on the roof of a vehicle or trailer

      – Accessories, such as: antennas, chests or roof racks,

      warning lights, taxi signs, parabolas, lanterns, solar panels.

      (The following does) Have an effect on the calculation of the total height:

      – The elements added to the basic vehicle, such as: living cells,

      air conditioners, refrigeration units”

      So no, Fred, you’re not losing the plot I’m glad to say.  But Gill may have other ideas…!

      That’s very interesting about the Paris Show and an encouragement for us to visit, maybe next year.

      I’ve found the British show dispiriting in the extreme, from the poor catering, overcrowding, lack of occasional seating and so on, that I don’t bother to go any more.   It seems the French (as in so many other areas) have solved the problem?


      Barry & Maggie

      October 10, 2017 at 6:53 PM
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      Katy McG
      Member
      Posts: 161
      but what were the campervans like at the show, Fred? Anything as perfect as an Exsis?

      x

      October 18, 2017 at 11:22 AM
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      alan
      Member
      Posts: 21
      I have just returned from a trip to the UK for Xmas, on the way there I had a full tank of water (as I didn’t think I’d be able to top up before the UK) & kept a fairly full fuel tank. All the automatic peages rated me at Class 2 without any problem but on the way back with only a third full tank of water, they all rated me as Class 3. At the more expensive tolls I called the “assistance”  stating “Je suis classe 3” & the majority reduced the charge to class 2 without argument which in one case was a reduction of almost 20 euros. At the other tolls which argued however I just paid up as I’ve not perfected French arguing yet.

      The moral therefore is if using the autoroutes for long distances keep the water & fuel tanks topped up as the extra fuel used in carrying this weight is a lot less than the increased toll charges.

      December 31, 2017 at 12:29 PM
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      Fred & Gill
      Member
      Posts: 463
      Happy New Year to all.

      Thanks Alan for posting that information, especially the weight/ ride height factor.

      This confirms my thoughts at the time – luckily we were heavily loaded both ways with 3 adults.

      It seems that the factors of the more pliable newer Michelins Agilis tyres over the old hard Camper X tyres, weight of fuel and water and perhaps the age of the springs/ suspension allowing the van to settle down a bit combine to just about get under the 3m height rule.

      Alans experience does confirm as he states that it can save significant toll costs by being well loaded up.

      Thanks for the useful confirmation.

      Fred

      Ruby

      January 4, 2018 at 9:06 AM
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      alan
      Member
      Posts: 21
      You’ve also nothing to lose by pressing the “Assistance” button & politely saying “Excuzez-moi mais je suis classe 2, s’il vous plait !” – the worst that can happen is that they don’t reduce the price.

      January 4, 2018 at 3:12 PM

    • #473
      Barry & Maggie
      Moderator

      Alan’s experience of being charged at Class 3 for just a centimetre or two over 3 metre height limit, illustrates a disproportionate “punishment” by arbitrarily applying this height rule. It’s so unfair.

      One way to defeat this unfair ruling would be to affix a cheap, maybe even non-working, chunky and obvious radio/tv aerial glued to the roof, which would then introduce the rule that roof accessories should not be applied to the overall height.  Similar to this I spotted…  https://tinyurl.com/y8l5gxst

      If charged at a Classe 3 rate, your objection would oblige the operator to actually look at his camera and SEE a tiny motorhome, entirely consistent with a fair “Classe 2” charge.

      You do not need to even argue with the operator in a case such as this… Just keep repeating “Classe Deux” and add “Antenne” if necessary; that will work.

      And it will save you the cost of the antenna in just one or two saved tolls, the difference between Class 2 and Class 3.

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