Czech Republic becoming a world leader in contactless payment for public transportation

Illustrative photo: Štěpánka Budková

The Czech Republic is undergoing a revolution in the way passengers pay for public transportation services, writes news site Around 2,000 bus and tram services now enable ticket payments to be made using a contactless card. And that number is set to continue to grow, says Petr Zlámalík, of Mastercard Advisors, the professional services arm of card payments processing giant Mastercard.

Illustrative photo: Štěpánka Budková
Over the last two years, contactless payment terminals have been installed for bus routes across numerous Czech towns and cities, including Litoměřice, Plzeň and Ostrava, as well as for a number of regional inter-city routes. Plzeň, Liberec and Ostrava are reportedly the furthest along, while Prague currently only offers such terminals on a limited number of routes. But in Ostrava, for example, 16 percent of public transport journeys are now bought using payment cards.

In recent years, says Petr Zlámalík, the Czech Republic has become one of the world leaders in card payment availability for public transportation. Inspired by Holland and Britain, future plans are focused, among other things, on Prague developing an electronic ticket card system similar to the Oyster card, which is used across London. Such a system would hope to place the bad memories associated with the controversial and scandal-plagued Opencard system, introduced in 2007, in the rear-view mirror.

Future plans could also see an end to the famous paper tickets, which passengers must validate via a time-stamp machine. The rise of card-paid tickets, could also lead to a reduction in the usage of another recent innovation, namely tickets bought via mobile SMS services, says Zlámalík.