The beep at the terminal when entering the tram and the fare is paid. No coins, no tickets. Smart payment – everything goes without a contact card or mobile. People have been traveling in Ostrava for nearly two years, and they have added an option to upload a timed coupon a month ago. And now it turns out that the use of credit cards in transport changes the behavior of people. They are more and more common with them.

Numbers show that both the number and the volume of transactions are growing rapidly for all traders in the city. “Only in Ostrava, the card is 30% more charged. Businesses and banks will bring more business, “says Marek Ditz.

ČSOB data also show that, for example, in Pilsen, 18% of cardholders were in “sleeping accounts”. Thanks to the project, almost everyone has been paying for off-the-road terminals.

Passengers started to use smart payment cards more as well. The Ostrava-based transport company reports that the passengers paid almost twice as many tickets in January and February than in the same period last year. In the first two months of the year, they bought 489 thousand tickets for 8.8 million crowns, while for the entire year 2017 it was less than 2.2 million tickets for 39.6 million.

“We would like to abolish the sale of classic paper tickets over the last few years,” says Karolína Rycková, a spokesman for the Ostrava Transport Company. The system is able to buy a fare from one card not only for its holder but also for the passenger.

Prague is delayed

Gradually, additional cities and regions are added, such as the Olomouc Region. According to Mastercard, more than 3,500 smart payment terminals are now in public transport and the annual average transaction growth is more than 40 percent.

“The Czech Republic has great growth potential in card payments in public transport. The number of issued payment cards is 11.3 million, of which over four-fifths are contactless, “says Petr Zlámalík, an expert at Mastercard Advisors.

“It is a future, soon it will have every statutory city, “says Jan Parýzek, Director of Public Sector at Česká spořitelna. It speaks of 26 cities, each of which has more than 40,000 inhabitants. For example, the bank won a tender for a new Prague-based transit system last year in cooperation with its technology partners, and in a decade it helped establish a system in Děčín that allows you to upload a coupon for a payment card.

This is what Prague wants this August, which has been delayed yet against other large cities. And mainly because of the pathogens with the previous Open card system.

“The smart payment card will be just one of the channels. As an identifier, we will also use the Czech Railways IN card and discuss with other partners about the inclusion of other cards in the system. The negotiation is, for example, ISIC. And passengers who will continue to use Lantach as a driving license will, of course, be able to, “says Kamila Kolman, a spokesperson for the ICT Operator.

“The new payment system is being built not only for the metropolis but also for the Central Bohemian region. The system will cover both rail and bus services, “adds Kolman.

Boxes with multiple features

“Experience shows that twenty percent of people could travel to a coupon on a credit card within six months,” says Parýzek. According to him, specialized transport cards do not have a future in the longer term, most services are gradually moving to the Internet and to the mobile.

“And this is generally the case, gradually disappearing classic parkomats, validators without data connectivity and other functions, it belongs to the 20th century,” says Parýzek. “Boxes” in the means of transport will perform more functions. They can convey useful information about the city or the transport company to make money.

Ostrava has been very inspired by public transport in London, explains Visa manager Frantisek Jungr. There is, however, one major difference between the British metropolis and the Czech cities. “While a large majority of people use the time vouchers in the Czech Republic, it’s the opposite in London. Time vouchers are relatively expensive and passengers usually buy one-off or daily tickets, “says Jungr. According to him, there are basically three ways to use the card. “The simplest to introduce and the least sophisticated way is a one-time ticket payment. It works just like shopping in a shop. You pick up a ticket, attach a card, and the terminal prints a paper card, “says Jungr. This is the way we are testing Prague.

In Ostrava, however, no paper tickets from the devices will be dropped after payment. “The passenger shall attach the card to the terminal on board, optionally when leaving the means of transport, and may continue to rely on a system which at its best chooses the most favorable fare. The advantage is the so-called frills. The transport company will never charge you a higher amount than the price of a 24-hour ticket, “says Jungr. There is a system in Pilsen that is somewhere between the two.

In Prague, however, they want to come up with some other way. “This is not the same system that is in operation in Ostrava. The purchase of individual tickets will be extended by buying through a mobile application, with all existing sale ticketing, SMS tickets and paper tickets will remain, “explains Kolman.

Although it has been a way for many years, Jungr sees the future in a gradual merging of systems:” In the near future, unification across cities and regions will begin and new payment solutions should begin to integrate even the largest passenger carriers, including those of the state, “says Jungr. Meanwhile, some are afraid to introduce smart payments just because they need to modify their own systems.


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