Łódź tests an innovative fare calculation system for public transport journeys with a transfer

1 december 2020

The Mint of Poland has launched a pilot implementation of a novel fare calculation system on public transport in Łódź. For the first time in Poland, fares for tram journeys with transfers between the lines, paid for with a contactless card in mobile ticket vending machines using the Company’s Open Payment System (OPS), will be automatically added up. As a result, passengers will pay less as two separate journeys will be settled as one.

As part of the rollout of its Open Payment System (OPS) onto Tram Line 11 in Łódź, the Mint of Poland added a new innovative functionality to the system. Thanks to the innovation, the fare for the journey will be calculated based on the number of stops actually travelled during the journey even if the passenger transfers from one line to another. Before, in the OPS mobile ticket vending machines, which have been in use in the city since 2017, the total fare depended on the number of stops travelled on one line only, with the fare per stop gradually decreasing with each stop travelled. When the passenger transferred to another line, the fare for the first stop on the new line started again from the highest amount. Now, if the passengers continue the journey after transferring into another line, they will pay less as the total fare will be calculated as for one journey instead of for two separate ones.

“The reduced fare for the stops travelled after transfer will be available to those passengers who will get on the new line within no more than 20 minutes from getting off the first one,” explains Jacek Sieński, Sales Department Director of the Electronic Payments Division, Mennica Polska S.A. “Our project is in pilot implementation. During this stage, we will continue to analyse the potential of this functionality for a wider-scale rollout. In our view, this is a very forward-looking solution. In addition to the actual savings for passengers, it may also become part of a future loyalty system. Today, however, we believe that more tangible incentives are needed to remind ourselvesthat the use of public transport gives us some measurable benefits, including for our wallets,” Jacek Sieński adds.

Before, when the OPS operated in Łódź on Tram Line 10 line only, this fare calculation method was not possible. After boarding the vehicle, the passenger would choose a ticket (normal or reduced fare) on the screen of the OPS mobile ticket vending machine delivered by the Mint of Poland. Then, in order to initiate the automatic calculation of the fare based on the number of stops travelled, they would touch their contactless payment card to the reader to register the beginning of the journey. To stop the automatic fare calculation, it was necessary to touch the same payment card to the machine again before deboarding. After transferring into the next line, the passenger had to repeat the same operation again while the fare was calculated again from the beginning, starting from the highest charge for the first stop travelled.

It is noteworthy that the funds for any journeys travelled on the given day are blocked on the passenger’s bank account not earlier than at 00.30 a.m. the following day, while the account may be debited even a few days later.

According to data from MPK Łódź, the municipal public transport company, between 16 September 2017 and 31 October 2020 passengers travelling on Lines 10A and 10B used the OPS mobile vending machines from the Mint of Poland in total over 716,300 times. The most tickets sold were for journeys of 2 to 6 stops.