AFTER a bumpy start, the integrated transportation system of Bratislava Region was finally launched in mid-2013, enabling commuters to travel on one pre-paid ticket via train, bus or any means of Bratislava’s city transport. While the system was first put into operation for routes to the Záhorie region, the serviced area will be extended in the second phase to cover the whole Bratislava Region and selected municipalities of Trnava Region.
“Building and extending the integrated transportation system should increase the share of the public mass transportation to the detriment of the individual, especially car transportation,” Viktória Lancošová, spokesperson of the Bratislava Integrated Transport (BID), told The Slovak Spectator.
The integrated transportation system (IDS) is suitable for all passengers who commute to work or school and use several modes of transportation, while it should bring greater comfort and lower fares, according to Lancošová.
BID, launched by the self-governing Bratislava Region and the Bratislava municipality with the goal to integrate the region’s transportation services, is the coordinator of the IDS. For now, Dopravný Podnik Bratislava (DPB), the public mass transportation company in Bratislava, the bus suburban transport operator Slovak Lines and the passenger railway operator Železničná Spoločnosť Slovensko (ZSSK), have joined the project.
The private railway operator Regio Jet attended initial negotiations before the launch of the first phase of the IDS, but later withdrew from the scheme. Regio Jet operates the Bratislava – Dunajská Streda – Komárno passenger railway route. According to Lancošová, negotiations with Regio Jet about joining are underway.
Lancošová believes that the biggest advantage for the participating transporters is the increase of passengers, who, thanks to IDS, would prefer public transportation to private commuting.
“In the future we plan to address all transportation operators operating on the territory on which our company will coordinate the public passenger transport,” said Lancošová.
The first phase of the integrated transportation system was launched on June 1, 2013 after software problems postponed the launch by three months. Since this date, commuters from the Malacky district can buy a pre-paid ticket valid for means of transportation by several transport operators, which means that commuters do not need to buy separate tickets for each operator.
Commuters can choose from a 30-day, 90-day or one-year ticket or transportation pass, while the price of the ticket depends on the number of zones the traveller crosses when commuting.
The first year of the new system is expected to operate at a loss, but Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftáčnik believes that losses will become benefits over the next year.
“We expect that the system will bring in more travellers in public transport, with fewer cars entering the city and individual streets of Bratislava,” Ftáčnik said in late May 2013, as cited by the SITA newswire.
Bratislava regional governor Pavol Frešo said last October that this is “a modern way of transportation, which we are accustomed to in all large agglomerations around capitals in Europe,” as cited by the Bratislava local newspaper Bratislavské Noviny.
Part of the project also involves the reconstruction and refurbishment of railway and bus stations, including building new parking lots and bicycle stands.
According to Lancošová, the number of pre-paid tickets has been increasing each month. In the period of June-December 2013, a total of 420,254 were sold, while 141,774 tickets were sold during the first two months of 2014.
Lancošová admitted that the first phase of IDS encountered various technical difficulties, which is why they are now putting more emphasis on testing before the launch of the second phase. The system will be extended to cover commuters from the districts of Pezinok and Senec, and some municipalities of Trnava Region.
“For the time being, we are in the final phase of testing and checking the systems,” said Lancošová. “Since three transporters are involved in the system, the final decision about the term of the launch of the second phase will be made after the completion and evaluation of the testing phase and after an affirmative stance of all the partners.”
According to Lancošová, they are especially struggling with the insufficient powers of the coordinator, while it is not always easy to harmonise the goals of the IDS with the interests and aims of the three transportation operators and three bodies ordering public transportation, each of which have their own economic, commercial and political interests.
While the BID programme is currently designed only for commuters with pre-paid tickets, its plan is to make it possible to also buy one-off tickets.
“We plan to introduce these only during the launch of the third phase and after all transportation means are equipped with ticket markers,” said Lancošová, adding that they assume that this will happen in the early months of 2015. For the time being, they are awaiting the results of the procurement for purchasing the equipment.
14. Apr 2014 at 0:00 | Jana Liptáková