There is a chance to travel through the agglomeration with Urbancard. Interview with Paulina Tyniec-Piszcz

Many residents of neighboring municipalities study and work in Wrocław. What actions is City Hall taking to ensure that passengers have comfortable access to school or workplace?

– Agglomeration cooperation is one of the main areas of our activity and an integral part of the public transport network. Suburban journeys on the 9xx lines, which we organize on the basis of inter-municipal agreements, are in fact urban transport – also because of the standards offered. The buses are modern, air-conditioned and low-floor, as well as yellow and red, letting passengers know that this is our joint transport.

How did this collaboration go in recent years?

– Several. There were some municipalities that did not organize public transport at all. There were also those who tried to work with us, but it was difficult to find a legal formula. A good example is the municipality of Kąty Wrocławskie, which did not organize public transport, but the authorities concluded that this should be done together with Wrocław. The idea of ​​a large tender was born, in which five municipalities participated. In the end, we organized ten new agglomeration lines together, which we launched in August 2021. It was the culmination of almost two years of cooperation with these municipalities.

How many such lines for municipalities does the city of Wrocław organize in total?

– At the moment there are 27. We plan to spend about PLN 40 million for this purpose this year, last year the amount was more than PLN 25 million. Of course, part of this money is paid by the municipalities as part of the subsidy. You can see that they want to cooperate with us, they contact us with the request to arrange transportation. They noticed the importance of public communication of sufficient quality. Residents who move to a city near Wrocław expect the same level of service as the city.

Is there a chance that the strengthening of the cooperation between the town hall and the municipalities will help to standardize the ticket system so that only Urbancard can use agglomeration communication?

– We started this project some time ago. We prepared a preliminary concept that allowed us to identify our possibilities for introducing a joint ticket from the formal and legal side. We must not forget that every municipality organizes transport differently – some alone, in others we do it alone. We also have examples of hybrid solutions. For example, we looked at what our contract with the ticket system operator looks like, which systems apply in the individual municipalities and who receives the proceeds from the tickets. Sometimes the carrier receives them, sometimes the organizer of the transport.

So when will residents start using agglomeration communication with only Urbancard?

– We want to agree the definitive scope of the project with the municipalities before the end of the year. Then we can adapt the Urbancard system in such a way that it is possible to travel with one card in individual municipalities. In the middle of next year we could start a pilot in the first municipality or in the first line package. In the initial phase, the joint ticket will cover the municipalities that already organize transport with us today. Firstly for formal and legal reasons and secondly for technical reasons.

So in vehicles with the numbers 9xx. Why?

– It arises, among other things, from our contracts with operators. However, first of all, some vehicles currently running on conurbation lines have been adapted to the installation of OPS validators, which we have on MPK buses and trams. We have to keep in mind that this is the most popular form of ticket buying – we sell over 70 percent this way. Of course we ultimately want the regular ticket to also be valid on 8xx lines. The assumption is that its distribution should be available through all channels. In ticket machines, in validation machines, in Customer Service Offices, on the website or via the mobile application.

And would it be possible to travel without a ticket? Just like in Tallinn, where public transport is completely free.

– Free public transport is most often introduced in relatively small towns. Where the costs and revenues of tickets are so small that you can specify the latter. Importantly, we are still debating whether free communication will actually deliver the expected results in the form of even smaller traffic jams in the city. An interesting example is Vienna, which introduced an annual ticket for 365 euros, which was a very advantageous offer.

However, it turned out that the short-term effects of this solution were positive. The increase in the sale of this ticket was large, but was ultimately not realized. Those who used communication before bought it anyway. But that did not mean that more travelers used public transport. In Wrocław, on the other hand, a large group of passengers can use public transport for free – especially students and seniors.

Leave a Comment