Prague trams to take contactless payment

The city will be putting new ticket dispensers on all of its trams

It will soon be possible to pay transit fares in Prague by card on trams, after several years' delay. So far, it has only been possible on certain tram models on limited routes. Paying by card is more common in other Czech cities.

The Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) has announced a competition for a company to supply payment terminals and operate them for four years. In total, DPP wants 920 terminals. The contract is estimated at Kč 60 million.

“Contactless payment should be installed on all tram lines within six months of signing the contract,” DPP spokeswoman Aneta Řehková said.

DPP anticipates that the bidders will be primarily from the banking sector. The closing date for bidding is June 22.

The winner of the tender will place terminals in trams and receive a commission from each ticket sold. DPP will have the option of taking over the instruments as its property.

The contactless device will be installed in most trams at the middle door. On tram models 14T, known colloquially as Porsche, there will be two devices since the tram does not have a middle door. There are only 60 14T trams, and not all of them are currently in service. They should all be back running by 2020.

The device will print a ticket for the passenger, which like other transit tickets can be used on other public transport links up until its time limit expires. Other cities have been getting rid of paper tickets in the contactless system by storing virtual tickets on the payment cards, but Prague is not exploring that route yet.

Prague began testing the contactless ticket sales in some trams in 2016 on lines 22 and 18, as well as in airport bus 119.

If the system is successful on trams, the DPP wants to extend it to buses. The metro may eventually get a different type of ticket vending machine that takes contactless payment cards.

Prague has over 800 trams according to the DPP website, with the T3 model and its variants, introduced in 1960, still the most common and accounting for over half of the fleet. The more modern 15T accounts for about one-quarter of the fleet.

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