Contactless payment expanding on public transport

A system like one used in London is being prepared for Prague

The Prague public transportation system is expanding contactless payment and mobile phone tickets, and. The possibility to add a coupon to a payment card will be added, eliminating the need for paper tickets.

“Perhaps next year the check-in system throughout the PID (Prague Integrated Transit) will change. For passengers, this will mean the possibility to upload a fare subscription, aside from Lítačka cards, also to bank cards, InKart, ISIC or other media. At the same time, there is no need to go to activate the ticket in the validator, and passengers will have better control over when the ticket validity ends. The availability of prepaid tickets in out-of-town areas will also improve,” PID announced on Facebook.

“In the second stage, we also expect a change in short-term tickets, inspired by the systems in London and Ostrava. Passengers' fares would be calculated automatically,” the Facebook post stated.

Contactless payment is possible already on tram line 18 and on some 22 line trams. The service was launched in April 2016.

About 5,000 transactions per month take place on the contactless terminals, with Kč 24 tickets being the most common, according to daily Mladá fronta Dnes.

The contactless payment terminals are also on bus route 119, which goes from metro stop Nádraží Veleslavín to Václav Havel Airport Prague. Some 1,157 contactless tickets were sold since the start of the year, but mostly to Czechs and not tourists, the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP) states.

The contactless terminals will also soon be on suburban bus lines, starting with route 363, which goes from Opatov to Velké Popovice.

Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová said the multi-channel debit card system will become standard.

Ostrava, in north Moravia, has had a system for two years that allows people to upload their tickets to a travel card or payment card, without a paper ticket being printed. It has proven popular, while the use of paper tickets has fallen from 92 percent to 73 percent as of December 2016. The system was modeled on one in use in London. 

Eventually a system like the “touching in and out” system in London should be implemented. That system charges users for the exact length of their journey based on when they entered or left the metro, tram or bus. One drawback is that under some circumstances if the rider does not “touch out” they are charged for a longer journey that they might have actually taken. In London, the maximum fare is charged for incorrectly entered journeys.

City firm Operátor ICT will be developing the system for Prague at a cost of Kč 6 million, and it should be implemented in 2018.

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