People using Prague public transit can transfer their virtual travel coupons from plastic cards to mobile phones. The transfer can be done with the PID Lítačka application.
Passengers can then use their smartphone to prove they have a valid travel coupon when asked by ticket inspectors. Other options, aside from the green Lítačka card, include storing the coupon on a debit or credit card, Czech Railway’s In Karta or purchasing a paper coupon. The payment card options were launched last year, but the phone option was delayed due to technical reasons.
“Our long-term priority is to work toward digitization.. … Passengers can leave the plastic ticket card at home and transfer long-term time coupons to the mobile app. We try to meet the needs of passengers in Prague as much as possible. Our goal is for the PID Lítačka mobile app to be a complete guide for Praguers and tourists for public transport in Prague and to plan the journey from point A to point B taking into account the preferences of individual passengers and offering not only public transport but also shared bikesharing or carsharing,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said.
Previously it was possible to have single-use tickets on a phone, but not long-term coupons.
Ticket inspectors will carry power banks so they can check tickets, even if the phone battery is dead. But the passenger has to have the correct cable.
Only one card or device can be used to hold the travel coupon. Once the passenger transfers the coupon to a mobile phone, the Lítačka card will no longer be valid. “There can be only one identifier. This is mainly so it won’t be possible to lend someone a card and have a mobile phone in your pocket. Only one device works at a time,” Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) Petr Witowski said, according to the Czech News Agency.
The same penalty applies if someone is caught without their travel coupon, regardless of the storage method. The person has to go to the penalty fare desk withing 15 days of being caught and prove that they had a valid coupon either on a card, a phone, or paper. They then have to pay a 50 CZK fine.
DPP officials say that with each new way for people to store travel coupons, the number of passengers riding without coupons drops.
The PID Lítačka application has been downloaded by over 630,000 people and is used regularly by more than 139,000 passengers, and 1.7 million tickets have been purchased through the application since it was launched last year.
With the app, people can buy tickets, plan routes, check the validity of their travel coupon, send tickets to other people, and find out about current delays.
Currently, the physical Lítačka card still offers some advantages, though. It can be used at the Municipal Library or to charge an electric car. These features should be added to the phone app in the future.
The Lítačka card was launched in 2016 as a replacement to the scandal-plagued red Opencard.