First images of the Pražská Lítačka – the working title of a new planned card to be used as a chargeable pass by public transit users in Prague have been released, featuring simple lettering against a green backdrop. The card is to replace the city’s Opencard, the unhappy administration of which had fallen to City Hall over legal issues with the system's former administrator eMoneyServices.
The Opencard was meant to be a successful multi-purpose card but first came in greatly over-budget and has since been mired in legal battles after City Hall and the previous administrator which owns the rights to the software, failed to negotiate a new contract. Pražská Lítačka will have one primary use: as a transit pass on the city’s metro, busses and trams; but should also have a secondary use as a library card.
The Prague Public Transport Company could begin issuing the replacement within a number of months, Lidovky.cz reported, closing the book on its red predecessor which many quickly got used to, despite the surrounding controversy. What will be some of the differences or disadvantages?
Ticket prices are not changing and neither will the cost of the new transit pass. Those with charged Opencards will be able to transfer remaining ‘credit’ to the new card without any difficulty but at the cost of 100 crowns (the same as what one would pay if one simply lost their card). No doubt some will take issue with having to pay the service fee just to exchange a red card for green. The final design of the card, meanwhile, has not yet been decided, pending the results of a survey on the internet.
The new Pražská Lítačka will not be an option for short-term visitors, in other words tourists who make use of paper tickets. That, Lidovky.cz suggests, is a missed opportunity, pointing to the oft-repeated scenes of foreigners grappling to understand instructions at automatic ticket machines.
According to the website, some 200,000 of the new cards could be issued each month. Currently, some 1.2 million residents own the Opencard, although the number of those who use the cards regularly is less. Most Opencards are expected to “run out” this fall and no new Opencards will be issued.
According to City Hall, the cost of the new card will run in the tens of millions, compared to the 1.7 billion crowns which Opencard reportedly came to. While the end of the former system is nigh, the Opencard will continue to plague City Hall for some time to come, in the former of legal battles: eMoneyServices, Lidovky.cz, wrote is asking for 600 million crowns in payment and is suing for 140 million, which, the website said, the city administration was not planning to pay.