Lítačka is two years old

The replacement of Opencard has proved to be popular

It's exactly two years since the release of the green Lítačka card, which replaced the scandal-plagued Opencard. Lítačka is currently used by 620,000 people. The city is also gradually expanding its functions.

The name Lítačka comes from Czech slang and refers to running around. The name was chosen via an internet poll.

Lítačka’s main use is to hold an electronic coupon for public transportation. It can also be used to borrow books in the Municipal Library, where it is used by a quarter of the readers. Card users can get a discount at selected Prague attractions. Some 6,400 users took advantage of a discount at Prague Zoo last year, for example.

But people have to remember to ask, as often the discounts are easy to forget about and are not widely publicized.

Discounts range from free admission to 50 percent off. Some can be used repeatedly. The 50 percent discount to the Jewish Museum, for example, can be used just once a year. Boat rides from Pražské Benátky are half off. People with an annual coupon can get into Velká Chuchle Racetrack for free. Most discounts range between 10 percent and 20 percent. A full list can be found at www.litacka.cz/discounts.

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.

Last year, a pilot project was launched at a school in Prague 13 to use the Lítačka card as school ID. Students use it to enter the school building and it can function as a lunch card.

In the future, the card could also be used to charge electric vehicles at public charging stations.

Soon, people won’t even need a physical Lítačka card. As of August, a virtual Lítačka card will be launched. People can use contactless payment cards or the In Karta from Czech Railways (ČD).

Purchase of coupons will be possible via mobile phone and it should be able to be activated without going to a validator machine.

Even after the introduction of the virtual card, people will be able to use the standard Lítačka card or buy SMS and paper tickets.

The acquisition cost of the Lítačka card system was Kč 8.2 million crowns. The system is managed by the city company Operátor ICT.

The Opencard project, launched under then-mayor Pavel Bém in 2007, was the subject of several lawsuits and trials due to contracts being disadvantageous to the city. Problems first arose in November 2009, when discrepancies in the cost of operating the system were discovered.

Some people responsible for implementing the system were convicted, but the card continued to be used. Some Opencards will remain valid until 2020.

The city decided to launch a new Lítačka system so it could monitor it more closely more and operate it more cheaply.

Lítačka is part of an overall strategy to use modern technology. 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 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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