CHANGE OF TICKET PRICES FROM SEPTEMBER. THE DRAFT CONSULTED WITH TRADE UNIONS

Publication date: 25.07.2022

A two-digit inflation and an increase in fuel prices by more than 40% as compared with the previous year are factors, which result in growing operating costs, also in the urban transport.

If the economic situation in Poland would not deteriorate by the end of year, and the forecasts show that the inflation peak has not yet occurred, the estimated deficit in the ZTM finances for the urban transport maintaining could amount to approx. PLN 80 million. Such an amount is necessary to maintain 46 bus lines. The difficulties are intensified by a ‘tail’ of losses, which was growing from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns. Although June 2022 is the first month for two years, when the number of sold tickets is comparable to 2019, but during only the initial months of 2022 the tickets sales was by more than PLN 43 million lower than before the pandemic. Settlements of years 2020 and 2021 were finished at almost PLN 170 million ‘in the red’.

Very high inflation, an increase in fuel prices, and additional burdens to municipality budgets due to tax changes, and - on the other hand - the willingness to maintain the current offer of the urban transport and its further development caused that a decision was taken to introduce changes in the ZTM price list. The draft changes and their scope was presented for consultation with trade unions.

Draft changes in the ZTM price list from September 2022.

The change of prices will apply to single-travel tickets and 30-day tickets. In any situation the price change will not exceed the inflation rate and will fluctuate between 9 and 13 percent. What is important: price changes will not apply to passengers, who regularly use the public transport; prices of Metrotickets, long-term tickets for 90 and 180 days, and subscriptions of multi-ride tickets will not be raised.

Another change will consist in the introduction of a uniform time tariff for single-travel tickets. This means that tickets will be valid for 20, 40, or 90 minutes, without distinguishing whether we use them in the area of one, two, or a larger number of municipalities. In the next months, together with starting a new payment system for tickets, the distance tariff will also be replaced with the time tariff. The time tariff is also universal and used in the biggest Polish cities and conurbations, and its main advantage is a possibility to make transfers within the validity period of one ticket. In the case of delays, if any, the ticket validity will be checked in comparison with the planned timetable time, and at the moment of transfer this time will be decided in favour of the passenger.

Noticing the problem of dishonest passengers, the charges for dodging the fare will be increased, from PLN 120 even up to PLN 550. At the same time a mechanism will be introduced, which will allow to reduce this fine to PLN 50 for everybody, who does not have any other fines for dodging the fare, or who has paid the previous amounts due. After this change, it will be possible to inform at a Passenger Service Point (POP) about the willingness to reduce the received fine from PLN 300 to PLN 50, and buy a 180-day ticket for the entire network (its price will not change, PLN 550). This mechanism is to have an educational dimension: it pays more to buy a ticket and honestly travel by the urban transport than risk a fine at the amount of a 180-day ticket. In this way, instead paying a few hundred PLN of ‘fine for nothing’, it will be possible to assign a significant part of this amount to buy a ticket, which will remain at a very attractive price, instead of buying six 30-day tickets for the entire network.

At the same time a possibility will be introduced of reducing to PLN 50 the additional charge for persons, who regularly were buying tickets (during the last 6 months the total period of their tickets validity was 175 days), but for various other reasons were travelling without a valid ticket. The solution is aimed at introducing more lenient rules for those persons, who buy tickets, but at the moment of inspection did not have one, and are not in arrears with the ZTM. This will allow to reduce the amount of additional charge to maximum PLN 50, so that they would not be treated in the same way as persons, who deliberately travel without a ticket. Such passengers will not have to buy additionally the Network 180 ticket.

Passengers, who regularly and frequently use the urban transport will pay for tickets the same amount as now. Changes will not cover 90- and 180-day tickets, multi-ride tickets, and Metrotickets.

This means that passengers, who buy tickets for a longer period of time, will not only pay relatively less for their rides, but will also not be covered by the rise. For example, in the case of a six-month ticket (Network 180), its monthly cost is PLN 92, which is a favourable price as compared with the other monthly tickets. The offer of a multi-ride ticket is equally favourable; this is a package of single-travel tickets, which is valid for half a year. When using such a ticket, single rides remain at much more attractive prices.

The maintaining of price competitiveness of season tickets in comparison with single-travel tickets is the basic objective for the GZM at designing price list changes. They care to make the changes as little as possible severe for passengers, who regularly use the urban transport, or not that frequently, but with a subscription package (multi-ride tickets).

Introduction of a uniform time tariff for single-travel/short-term tickets.

This change is aimed at unifying the scope of single-travel tickets validity, which ultimately will function in the entire system, irrespective of the purchase channel according to the time tariff (but the distance tariff will be changed to the time tariff later than the planned changes).

This change is related to the coming to the end work on a new payment system for tickets, which will replace the ŚKUP card system, implemented already a dozen or so years ago. The basis of its operation will consist of a modernised IT system, which will enable passengers to use any tariff via a mobile application (the physical version of the card will not be withdrawn, and passengers who prefer to buy urban transport tickets in this way will be still capable of using them).

The time tariff is also universal and used in the biggest Polish cities and conurbations, and its main advantage is a possibility to make transfers within the validity period of one ticket. In addition, this unification will allow to increase the proportionality in the access to the transport offer between residents of various, in terms of size and area, municipalities in the GZM.

The zone tariff used so far caused very big differences, because the transport offer for a ticket within 1 city was identical for all residents (in small municipalities it allowed to travel up to 15-20 minutes, while in large cities sometimes even up to an hour, and in certain situations a 20-minute ride would also allow to get to neighbouring municipalities).

Together with the introduction of these changes, the time period of tickets validity will not change; they will enable to travel with transfers during 20, 40, or 90 minutes. In the situation of a bus/tram/trolleybus delay, if any, the ticket inspectors will check the ticket validity against the planned timetable time, and at the moment of transfer this time will be decided in favour of the passenger. At the same time a ‘90-minute’ ticket will entitle to travel till the end of route in a single ride.

Change of prices for the other tickets will not exceed the inflation rate. Price changes will fluctuate between 9% and 13%.

The biggest change will apply to paper short-term tickets, the price of basic 20-minute ticket with a possibility of transfers will amount to PLN 4.60. However, using e-tickets we will pay for the same ticket PLN 4.00, and passengers using an 80-ride ticket (W80) will pay for one ride only PLN 2.50.

Because of the price change for single-travel tickets, the price of a ‘Daily’ ticket will be slightly changed, however, also in this case the attractiveness of this offer will be retained. After the introduced change its price will be equal to the cost of purchase of two 90-minute tickets in the electronic form, and will be lower than the sum of two 90-minute tickets in the paper form.

In addition, the ‘Daily’ ticket is valid much longer; it is possible to travel with it till 23:59 of the day, when it was bought. That means, that if someone would like to travel with it non-stop, during a day it would be possible to make 15 90-minute rides worth PLN 90, which would be paid if only zone-tickets for the entire network were used. In addition, on holidays the owner of a normal ‘Daily’ ticket under this one ticket can take one more person to travel.

Prices of short-term e-tickets will remain lower than those of paper tickets.

The channels for electronic tickets sales are permanently enlarged, because they enjoy increasingly great popularity among passengers. Each day the ZTM sells in this way more than 40,000 tickets. Tickets are available in six mobile applications, the Mobile ŚKUP authorised by the Metropolis, and in five external applications: SkyCash, mPay, moBiLET, jakdojade, and zBiletem.

In addition, the work on creating a new payment system for tickets, which will replace the current ŚKUP system, is coming to the end. A mobile application will be the very basis of the new system, At the same time in more than 200 buses and trolleybuses it is already possible to buy tickets from ticket machines, which accept proximity payments (ticket prices at ticket machines correspond to lower e-ticket prices).

In the nearest future all remaining vehicles will be equipped with new ticket machines accepting these payments; in the first half of June a contract to purchase 1,500 such devices was signed. The installation of those devices in all vehicles will allow to cancel tickets selling by drivers.

Noticing the problem of dishonest passengers, who travel without tickets, the additional charges for dodging the fare will be increased to PLN 550 (from PLN 200).

The Metropolis has analysed the amount of additional charges in other Polish cities. The fines binding at the ZTM were among the lowest in Poland. Unfortunately, it happened that it resulted in situations, when passengers were notoriously travelling without tickets, making an assumption, that it pays to pay on site PLN 120 of the additional charge than buy regularly e.g. 30-day tickets.

Therefore, noticing passengers responsibly using the public transport, and who indirectly also are harmed by this dishonest behaviour, the Metropolis decided that the additional charges for dodging the fare should be more severe and prevent such cases of fraud. An increase in additional charges in this proposal is as follows:

Charge for lack of ticket:

on site - PLN 200*

up to 14 days - PLN 300*

after 14 days - PLN 550*

Charge for missing document entitling to a concession:

on site: PLN 100

up to 14 days: PLN 125

after 14 days: PLN 250

Charge for stopping the vehicle: PLN 600

*an increase from PLN 120

**an increase from PLN 155

***an increase from PLN 200

A mechanism will be introduced for persons, who pay the fares, but for various reasons it happened to them to travel without a valid ticket.

The condition to obtain a possibility of paying the additional charge at a lower amount will consist in turning up at a Passenger Service Point (POP) within 14 days from the date of the charge origination and informing about the willingness to use the option of additional charge reduction. The POP staff will check, whether the passenger has paid all previous fines, if any. For such persons the additional charge will be reduced from PLN 550 to 50, if at the same time they buy a six-month ‘Network 180’ ticket for PLN 550.

This solution is aimed at an educational dimension: it pays more to buy a ticket and honestly travel by the urban transport than risk a fine at the amount of a 180-day ticket. In this way, instead of paying a few hundred PLN of ‘fine for nothing’, passengers will be able to assign a significant part of this amount to buy a ticket, which will remain at a more attractive price, than buying six 30-day tickets for the entire network.

A possibility will be introduced of reducing to PLN 50 the additional charge for persons, who regularly were buying tickets (during the last 6 months the total period of their tickets validity was 175 days), but for various other reasons were travelling without a valid ticket.

The solution is aimed at introducing more lenient rules for those persons, who buy tickets, but at the moment of inspection did not have one, and are not in arrears with the ZTM. This will allow to reduce the amount of additional charge to maximum PLN 50, so that they would not be treated in the same way as persons, who deliberately travel without a ticket. Such passengers will not have to buy additionally the Network 180 ticket.

This principle will apply to passengers, who within the last half a year (175 days) were regularly buying season tickets or slightly exceeded the validity of the ticket held (e.g. by one day).

 

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