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To a newsagent’s with change? No way. It is already common to pay by card in public transport

02. 01. 2024

In a few years, we will only be telling stories about paper tickets to our kids. With similar nostalgia as our grandfathers are talking about steam locomotives. Nowadays, only people who are not comfortable with modern technology go to the newsagent’s to buy a ticket. The rest of us either have a prepaid ticket or make do with mobile applications and payment cards.

In Prague, we have been paying for tickets by mobile phone for 15 years now

In 2007, Václav Klaus was presiding over the Prague Castle, the iPhone was hot news, and the band Kabát tried in vain to make it in the Eurovision contest with their song Malá dáma. But few people remember that Prague public transport launched SMS tickets back then. A service that saw turnover in the hundreds of millions in the following years.

It was a super-modern solution for the time: you simply sent a text message to the still-functioning phone number 9020626 in the form of DPT, your mobile tariff or credit was charged 20 Czech crowns, and you could get on the tram in two minutes. The two-minute delay is set on purpose so that you cannot hurriedly buy a ticket only when you see the ticket inspector.

The SMS tickets still operate on the same principle today. In addition to Prague, you can buy them in six other Czech cities: Ústí nad Labem, České Budějovice, Ostrava, Pilsen, Liberec and Olomouc. Many people still use them although there are more modern ways – we will talk about those in a moment.

Pilsen and Ostrava are the pioneers of public transport card payments

As far as the first place in paying for public transport by card is concerned, Prague was beaten by Pilsen, as early as the summer of 2015. Pilsen public transport was the first to be completely equipped with validators supplied by ČSOB – machines where you can buy a ticket by card. Even today you can find one of these in every bus, tram and trolleybus in the West Bohemian metropolis.

Another big project from our workshop also deserves a mention: Ostrava. In 2016, Ostrava introduced the “tap on tap off” system, which had become popular in the world’s various metropolises. The way it works is that you tap your card every time you board and exit a means of public transport. The system keeps track of how much you travel throughout the day, and only at the end of the day does it charge you money based on whether you travelled a lot or a little, while choosing the best fare for you.

Now, at the end of 2023, you can pay for public transport by card in 18 Czech cities, but the method still varies. For example, in our capital city you will find contactless terminals similar to those in Pilsen. Either at the entrance to the metro station or directly in the means of transport. You select the tariff on the display, pay by card, and have a conventional paper ticket printed out.

Don’t want to take out your card? Try the application

In Prague, Brno and even smaller towns such as Cheb, Planá nad Lužnicí and Otrokovice, you can buy a public transport ticket using a mobile application. There are several of those; you can try DoKapsy od ČSOB (DoKapsy by ČSOB), where you can find not only public transport tickets but also parking payments and European vignettes.

Buying a public transport ticket in the DoKapsy Application by ČSOB is similar to shopping in an e-shop. Simply choose one of the 10 cities and regions, tariff or zone. Finally, you pay normally online by card through a payment gateway. And when the mandatory delay lapses, the ticket will become valid.

Do you also want to offer card payments to your customers? Contact us

At ČSOB, we have a lot of experience with introducing card payments into public transport. Not only in Ostrava and Pilsen, but also in Prague (trams and buses), Ústí, České Budějovice and Jihlava. We supply payment terminals (not only for tickets) to large corporations such as transport companies and retail chains, but also to cosy cafés and individual tradesmen. If you would also like to start accepting payment cards, please fill out our short, no-obligation inquiry form and we will get back to you soon.