Toll Highways (Otoyol)
Depending on where you are driving in Turkey, you may come across an otoyol, which is a modern highway where the speed limit is 120 KPH. Otoyols also have rest stops with petrol stations, restaurants, and other travel necessities strategically placed along their lengths. These are toll roads, and the only way you can pay the toll is by registering with the Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi (heez-lee geh-jees see-steh-mee) [HGS]), which means "Fast Pass System." This involves pre-paying into the system, and mounting an HGS transponder on the inside of your vehicle's windshield behind the rear view mirror. The transponder is really not much more than a sticker. It allows you to breeze through HGS toll booths without even slowing down.
If you are renting a car, ask your car rental company if your itinerary will require an HGS transponder before you set off on your journey. If so, they should give you a car which already has a transponder on it.
How to Get an HGS Transponder For Your Vehicle
- Go to any PTT, (Turkish Post Office), or to a Turkish bank with your visa or residence permit
- Pay 5TL for the transponder, and 30TL for tolls in advance
- Mount the sticker-transponder they give you as described above
If you have an account at a Turkish bank, ask them about having the your HGS account automatically topped up from your bank account.
Alternatives to Toll Highways Using the HGS System
If you come upon an otoyol and don't have the HGS system, you can use secondary roads which run alongside it. You will have to enter the secondary road well before you come to the toll highway entrance, so keep an eye out for the exit as soon as you realize you are approaching a toll road. If you miss the turn, there may be no way to turn around.
If you go through the automatic toll system without an HGS transponder, an alarm will sound, a camera will take a photo of the car and license plate, and a fine will be assessed which is ten times the toll amount. Most toll amounts are around two or three Turkish Lira, so expect a fine of 20 to 30 Turkish Lira.
Toll Bridges and Tunnels
The bridges going in and out of Istanbul use only the HGS system. Bridges (and tunnels) in other parts of the country are not part of the HGS system, and usually have toll collection systems run by private contractors or local municipalities, so they accept cash.
The HGS Smartphone Application
You can download an HGS application in the Google Play and Apple Store. Just search for "HGS." With the HGS app, you can check the balance on your HGS account and top it up using a credit card.
HGS Customer Services: In Turkish. On the PTT website, this page provides a variety of customer service options regarding your HGS account.
Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Tolls in Turkey: From the General Directorate of Highways, provides a linked list of all motorways, bridges and tunnels subject to tolls. Click on the links to find out how much the toll is for each kind of vehicle.
Driving in Turkey: A guide for safe driving in Turkey.
Cars, Car Insurance, and Driving in Turkey Forum: If you have questions about the HGS system or driving in Turkey, please post them in the forum.