Reduced transit fine extended

The policy of cutting fines in half if a rider buys an annual pass will continue

The number of people using public transit without paying is continuing to drop. As a result, Prague City Hall has decided to extend for an indefinite period the policy of offering to cut fines in half for riding without a ticket if the rider buys an annual pass, as it is seen as very successful.

The option to pay half the fine and buy an annual ticket began Oct. 23, 2017, as part of the Nejedeš načerno? (You’re Not Riding Black, Are You?) campaign. To date, some 5,378 ticketless passengers have taken advantage of the discount to get an annual pass.

At the same time the number of fines imposed for 2018 shows that ticketless passengers dropped by 14.4 percent compared to the previous year.

A “black passenger,” as ticketless riders are commonly called, can reduce the fine for a ride without a valid ticket to just Kč 400 (from Kč 800) if they also purchase an annual coupon for Kč 3,650, valid for unlimited rides on trams, buses and the metro.

“The half-penalty is extremely successful, with more than 5,000 black passengers have been motivated to buy an annual coupon. They can travel for only Kč 10 [per day] for the whole year, and this means a long-term reduction of the total number of black passengers. Numbers have shown us that it definitely makes sense to continue,” Adam Scheinherr (Praha sobě), deputy mayor for transport, said on the City Hall website.

The number of black passengers is continuing to fall sharply in Prague. “In 2018, just 232,852 black passengers were caught in Prague Integrated Transport (PID) without a valid ticket, while there were 272,010 a year earlier. The activity of the inspectors has not been reduced, so it can be seen that the discount of the annual coupon and the Nejedeš načerno? campaign has had results,” Pavel Kurka, head of the inspection department of the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP), said.

The 2017 figure is a drop from 297,388 in 2016. “The number of black passengers drops in Prague every year, I am glad that people prefer to buy an annual coupon and travel in peace rather than to constantly have to look over their shoulders to see if an inspector is coming,” Petr Tomčík, director of transit organizer ROPID, said.

The penalty for riding without a ticket in the PID system is Kč 1,500. If the black passenger pays the inspector on the spot or at a cash desk within 15 days, it is reduced to Kč 800. Within the penalty reduction for buying an annual pass, the passenger can reduce the fine to Kč 400.

The condition is that they will buy an annual coupon, usually recorded on a Lítačka or Opencard. They will take the coupon receipt and the citation from the transport control inspector within five working days at the supplementary cash desk at Na Bojišti Street on Mondays and Tuesdays from 10 am to 5:30 pm, or Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 am to 3 pm.

The “Nejedeš načerno?” campaign includes stickers on doors public transit vehicles asking people is they have a ticket and other elements such as trams painted with people’s excuses for not having tickets and a website with similar comments. There is also positive reinforcement, such as giving children small prizes if they and their adult escort have tickets.

The price of an annual transportation coupon in Prague was greatly reduced in 2015 to encourage people to use public transportation more often, following up on an ANO campaign promise in the 2014 elections. The price of an annual pass had been Kč 4,750 before the reduction.

The city, in the long run, hopes to decrease car traffic by having more people use public transit.

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