Bank cards will hold Prague transit coupons

The city is seeking to make it easier to pay for and validate transit coupons

Soon it will be possible to load electronic coupons for Prague’s mass transit system onto bank cards. This will make validating the cards easier. Currently, people can buy coupons from home over the internet, but still, have to go to a metro station with a validating machine to activate the credit.

This is particularly difficult for people traveling from the Central Bohemia region, as they have to travel to the city to validate the cards.

The possibility to use bank cards for transit should start in July 2018.

“The upload will take place immediately, there will no longer be a need to go to the validators. This step will enable us to develop the use of electronic fares in the Central Bohemia region,” Operator ICT board member Václav Strnad said, according to daily Metro.

Operator ICT is a city-owned company that administers Lítačka, the current transit card program, and also is involved in other city projects based on information technology.

“A month later, we want to introduce a smartphone application that will allow not only the purchase of prepaid tickets but also single-use tickets that people now buy via popular SMS messages,” Strnad said.

Lítačka cards will remain in use. The cards also function as ID for borrowing books from the Municipal Library can be used at other city facilities and can be used for discounts at some museums

Prague is not the first city to use bank cards and smartphones for transit, But Prague should have its system running before New York City does. The city that never sleeps will be introducing a new electronic fare system between the end of 2018 and 2020.

Prague has been trying to make public transportation more attractive by increasing the payment options. The price of an annual coupon was lowered as well, making it the equivalent of Kč 10 a day.

Recently also the city launched a new policy where people caught without tickets can pay a reduced fine if they agree to get an annual pass.

The city is also starting a pilot program to introduce WiFi into metro stations. WiFi is also on some newer model trams and a private initiative has launched WiFi at some tram stops.

In the long term, the number of tram tracks is being increased and a fourth metro line is being built.

Prague was ranked fifth in the world in sustainable mobility by consultancy Arcadis, using data from the London-based Center for Economic and Business Research. This ranking took public transportation into account but also weighed other factors. Hong Kong came in at the top of the list, followed by Zurich, Paris, and Seoul.

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