Prague Upgrades Ticket Machines

New touchscreen ticket machines take a ride on tram 22

Residents of the historic city of Prague woke up to a small miracle on April 12th. For the first in history, a 'contactless payment' DPP* (Dopravní podnik hlavního města Prahy) ticket was purchased on a touchscreen machine inside a 22 tram. Before you get too excited, there are only two trams in the entire city that have this new machine: but more will follow.

While Prague celebrates this step into the future, several smaller Czech cities roll their eyes. Liberec, Pilsen and Brno have already had these shiny touchscreen ticket machines installed some longer time ago. Not only do these machines look great but they also make buying a ticket exponentially faster. A tap of the finger and a swipe of a credit card is all it takes.

Creating a nice contrast between the old city and new technology isn't the only reasoning behind the innovative machines. For years Prague has been fighting against fare-dodgers, a common problem in many countries that don't have a system of checking every passenger. Next door in Bratislava, they go as far as forming groups and pitch in to pay off the occasional fine – supposedly if you have enough members, this option is cheaper than buying tickets like a law-abiding citizen."

Although the cheaper yearly fee of 10 CZK a day has already gone a long way to help with this problem, having a quicker and easier way to purchase tickets may seal the deal for the remaining others. Right now these machines are going through a test phase: if they are successful then they will quickly be expanded to more 22 trams and eventually the 18.

The trams with this new attraction will be clearly labeled from the outside and the machine will accept both MasterCard and Visa. Many people are excited to ditch their small change and save precious time battling with the ancient coin-eating machines. If all goes well during this trial year, we'll be able to say goodbye to the rusty monstrosities that are not at all reflective of Prague's amazing public transportation system.

DPP* / Prague Public Transport company (ENG)

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