Virtual Lítačka to launch in the summer

As of Aug. 1, other contactless cards can be used for public transportation

The City Hall promises the end to lines to buy or verify a new transit coupon on the Lítačka card. People will be able to use any contactless card in their wallet, according to the city-run tech firm Operátor ICT.

The digital form of Lítačka should start Aug. 1. Examples of cards that can be used to for transit include payment cards, the Czech Railways card and possibly the student ISIC card.

Cards and mobile phones will not have a new transport coupon recorded directly but will serve to identify passengers. This will prove identity to an inspector during any check.

“We are also preparing a modernized e-shop platform that will make it easier to buy a coupon over the internet so people will not have to go into a validator,” Operátor ICT director Michal Fišer said.

The city also wants to reduce the number of tickets purchased by SMS, which annually accounts for 20 million tickets. This is a very expensive for the city as 20 percent of the ticket price is lost to SMS fees.

Moving people to other methods would save the city millions of crowns per year.

A new phone app will make short-term tickets available by the middle of the year, and long-term tickets will come later after a new type of security is introduced.

While the city is starting to promote the virtual Lítačka concept, it is also still introducing new used for the physical card. Late in 2017, the city introduced a pilot program to use Lítačka as a student ID card. It has better security than most existing student ID cards, Operátor ICT’s Fišer said.

The Lítačka card was introduced in 2016 and is currently used by 595,000 people. The name Lítačka comes from Czech slang and refers to running around. The name was chosen via an internet poll.

The physical card also functions as a city library card and can get some discounts at museums and other places.Due to privacy concerns, the card can also be issued anonymously, but these cars can’t be used at the library where personal information is needed.

Lítačka replaced the OpenCard, which had seen a number of scandals over the contracts for its operation in the decade that it existed.

Prague has been pursuing a Smart City policy and has been trying to use new technologies to make life easier in transportation and other areas. More public WiFi is being introduced. Some garbage cans notify the city when they are full, making the collection more efficient and also ensuring that the cans have enough space for more waste so people won’t litter.

The city plans to introduce more Smart City programs including a data platform to make information available to the public and to app developers in real time concerning available P+R parking spots, road conditions, cycling info and air quality.

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