A history of the vignette
Switzerland infuriates Germany
In 2023 it will be yellow – the new motorway vignette. But why do we put a color stamp on the inside of the disc every year? Bligh takes you through the history of the motorway vignette.
In 1985, Switzerland was the first country in Europe to introduce a motorway vignette.
Martin A. BartholdiEditor Auto & Mobility
It was the first voting Sunday in 1984. On February 26, Swiss voters pay an additional fee of CHF 30 per year. With a turnout of 52.77 percent, 53 percent of voters approved the “Federal Ordinance on National Road User Fees.” vignette, We know that today is born.
A year later, in 1985, Switzerland was the first country in Europe to introduce the vignette. It was designed by Bernese graphic artist Roland Hirder (79). To this day, it has not changed optically – except for the color that changes every year. A watermark was introduced in 1999, making it more difficult to counterfeit, and only in 2000 was the year shown as a four-digit number.
For foreign cars
When it was introduced, the central government assumed that foreign vehicles in particular would pay the tolls so charged in transit. Alternative subway tolls for Gotthard and San Bernardino have been rejected to avoid burdening local businesses.
On the contrary, with the vignette, especially the traffic must participate in the maintenance of the national road. Due to high petrol prices, they rarely fill up in Switzerland and therefore do not make their contribution through fuel tax. In the voting manual, the Federal Council calculated that foreign vehicles would pay between CHF 200 and 250 million, while Swiss vehicles would contribute only CHF 50 million. This is probably why the Federal Customs Administration and the Federal Highway Administration are still responsible for the vignette.
At the time, Switzerland was also heavily criticized by Germany. The transport minister at the time, Werner Dolinger (1918–2008), described the vignette as an obstacle to European transport routes. But it was controversial not only with neighboring countries, but also in Switzerland. In 1986 a popular initiative was submitted to abolish the vignette. National Councilor Michael E. Dreher (78) feared for Switzerland’s reputation in 1988 and tried to speed up the abolition with a movement: “This survey annoys hundreds of thousands of tourists every year and is very damaging to our reputation and popularity. Country,” Turner wrote in his advance.
However, the developments were not crowned with success. Dreher’s movement was written untreated two years later and the effort was withdrawn in 1990. Instead, ten years after the introduction of the Vignette, the Swiss agreed to a 10-franc price increase. The current rate of 40 francs has been in use since 1995. In November 2013, voters rejected a further price increase to CHF 100.
Many followers in the East
Even Germany’s international criticism was lost. Other European countries adopted the Swiss system, with Austria leading the way. The country also introduced the Motorway Vignette in 1997. Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary also have such a system today. However, in contrast to Switzerland, most of them not only offer short-term offers for days, weeks or months, but have completely replaced the resin version with an electronic vignette.
In Switzerland, a partial operation is planned for next year. Customs wants to introduce e-vignette by 2023. Unlike other countries, the adhesive version for the windshield will remain – at least for the time being. It cannot be ruled out that sooner or later that too will be available only digitally from us. Then there won’t be any problems like in 1995 and 2000 when the vignette didn’t stick properly. But most of the time it sticks to the inside of the windshield better than drivers would like (click here for a guide: Here’s how you can easily remove a motorway vignette) and that too will be a thing of the past with e-Vignette.
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