The municipality of Bratislava has this year cooperated with several banks to offer residents the Bratislava City Card, which incorporates the advantages of a city card – discounts at city institutions, including the zoo, and on mass transport – and those of a normal payment card which can also be used abroad. By the beginning of March, almost 13,000 people with permanent residence in the city had asked for a card. “Out of that, 2,690 activated its function as a tram pass,” Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftáčnik said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “Some estimates suggested that if the card attracted clients too quickly the City Transport Company could lose one to two million euros – but given the speed with which new clients have applied for it, we don’t expect that to happen this year,” he added. The mayor said he foresees enhancements to the project, involving individual city districts and possible introduction of a visitors’ card.
The general manager of First Data Slovakia – the city’ strategic partner in the project – Juraj Tomanka, said that it was possible to change the “medium” of the card to a contact-less watch or a contact-less sticker on a mobile phone. Other possibilities are modification to a one-off card for tourists or a sophisticated fidelity system. The company also intends to offer the city council information about the extent to which the cards are used so that the city can direct the benefits that it offers more specifically.
Head of pay cards at UniCredit Bank Slovakia, Andrea Šípošová, informed TASR that the cards are mostly used to buy pre-paid tram passes. Other banks participating in the project are OTP Banka, VÚB Banka and, from March, Volksbank Slovensko. Poštová Banka should follow, as well as Slovenská Sporiteľňa. Next year, ČSOB and Tatrabanka might join the project as well.
The main group of card users is between 41 and 60 years of age. Requirements for applying for the card are permanent residence in Bratislava and, in the case of VÚB and OTP banks, a current account. UniCredit does not require applicants to have an account with them, as the card can be topped up instead.
28. Mar 2011 at 0:18 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská