Prague introduces chip card system similar to London's Oyster card

14-08-2008

The Prague Transport Authority recently launched a chip card system similar to London's Oyster card. The Opencard itself is not a novelty: Prague citizens have already been using it to pay their parking fees and take out library books. However, as of October, they can also use their Opencard as a public transport pass, charging it up with credit beforehand. I spoke to Michal Opatrný from the Prague Transport Authority to find out more about the new system:

“The aim of the project is to establish not only new ways of communication between the city and its citizens but also less complicated and more convenient access to the services provided by the city.”

What can the card be used for?

“First of all the Opencard serves as a replacement for vouchers and tickets to some of the city’s institutions and services. You can also use it in place of Prague public transport season ticket. Opencard is also accepted by certain branches of the Prague Municipal library. It can be used instead of coins when parking in paid zones. It is currently accepted by parking metres in the city centre and within the next few months this service will be extended to other zones as well. And you can use it for an easy and secure access to Prague’s website. For example drivers can use this application to obtain information about their current traffic offences including info about penalties and the number of points incurred.”

When did you actually start distributing the card?

“We have already started distributed over 6,000 old Opencards and about 70 new ones. During the autumn we would also like to launch nameless cards for tourists, who don’t need residence permits. They can simply buy the card and use it.”

Speaking about nameless cards, what kind of data do you actually need to provide a customer with the card?

“Prague citizens need to fill an application form. The Opencard will feature a photo of the applicant and his or her date of birth but no other personal details.

So in case I lose my Opencard you can provide me with a new one on the basis of the data that you already have.

“Yes, of course. If you lose your Opencard we give you a new one and provide you with a public transport ticket that you had previously bought.”

14-08-2008