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Major Polish City Introduces London Inspired Public Transport Ticket Payment System

The system will be launched on September 16th as a pilot program on two of the city's most important tram lines

It's not an absolute novelty on the Polish market - city bus tickets have already been replaced by bank cards in several cities, including Świebodzice and Jaworzno. Łódź, however, being a big city with a large number of residents and a complex public transportation network, was much more of a challenge for the creators of the solution. If the pilot program, beginning on September 16th, is deemed a success, it may become a reference for other big cities in Poland and we may see other similar projects being developed.

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The solution is a cooperation between MPK Łódź - the city's public transportation service provider, Mastercard and the Mint of Poland. Single fare tickets will be replaced by a payment card. After boarding a tram, the passenger should select the desired ticket option on the ticket validation machine and hold their bank card against it. A transaction confirmation message will appear on the screen within half a second. Then, before getting off the tram, the passenger needs to hold their card against the machine again, and the screen will display a message confirming a correct transaction, which will mean that the trip is over and the payment is complete.

The new system in Łódź uses a tariff that depends on the time the passenger gets on and off the tram. The fare will be based on the existing time tariff. For instance, riding 13 stops takes approximately 20-21 minutes and costs 2,80 zł - the same as a 20-minute ticket. But in the new system, the passenger only pays for the actual length of the trip, avoiding paying for unused time. The transaction service will be provided by Elavon. In case of a ticket control, there is no need for paper tickets either. All the passenger needs to do is hold their card against the controller's card reader.

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If Łódź's residents like the new payment system, it will be extended to other lines and means of transport. The solution is based on the system operating in London, where it was introduced several years ago and has contributed to a significant increase in the number of contactless card payments. The British capital was probably the first European city to introduce a ticketless public transportation payment system that uses contactless cards. And there have been numerous followers. A similar system is now operating in Madrid, among other cities, and will soon be introduced in another major Polish city - Wrocław.


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