Public Transport in Sofia: Changes in Prices of Tickets and Cards
The validation of the card or ticket becomes mandatory every time you board the public transport in Sofia. A fine of BGN 3 is envisaged for the passengers, even if they have a regular transport document. "The goal is to insure the passenger in the event of an accident, but also it helps with the analytical data on the congestion of the lines," explained Zafir Zarkov of GERB, deputy chairman of the transport commission.
This requirement is part of the changes in the ordinance on public transport in Sofia, which will introduce a new tariff policy. It has not yet entered into force, to be approved by the Sofia Municipal Council at its session on July 21st. The changes are expected to be introduced in stages by March 1, 2023.
Paper tickets for one trip will be sold by drivers or at the metro stations, but at a price of 2 levs. "Across Europe, the ticket bought from the driver is the most expensive," Zarkov argued. The other motive was to encourage citizens to buy e-tickets and cards. The paper ticket will not be perforated, but will have a QR code and will also be validated when boarding the vehicle.
Tickets for time - from 30 and 60 minutes, will allow citizens to transfer to different vehicles and in the latter will be able to travel to the end of the route, even if the time is exceeded. They will cost BGN 1.60 and BGN 2.20, respectively. The average journey time on public transport is now 24 minutes.
"With a 60-minute ticket of BGN 2.20, a person will be able to travel to a store, shop and return with the same ticket," recommended Proshko Proshkov, a municipal councilor from GERB-SDS.
The monthly cards for one line are dropped on the grounds that it will be more profitable for the citizens to buy an annual one for BGN 365 for the entire transport network instead. "The price of twelve-monthly tickets for one line will be close to the new annual for all lines," Zarkov explained. This will encourage more frequent use of other vehicles, he added.
The card for 10 trips for BGN 12 is also dropped, because "you will now be able to charge the e-card with as many trips as you want," Zarkov recommended. According to him, the "economic situation" was to blame for the cancellation of the BGN 4 discount.
The main emphasis in the new tariff policy is the orientation towards young and active people to buy cards. For people under the age of 26, the price of a monthly for the entire city network will be BGN 25, not BGN 50, as is the usual price. For them, the annual card will cost BGN 250, not BGN 365, said Carlos Contrera of IMRO, chairman of the transport commission. For a parent of a child up to 2 years of age who uses parental leave, the monthly card will be only BGN 10.
For pupils and students, the monthly card will be reduced by 60% and will be BGN 20. Retirees will travel 1 lev less for one month - the card is reduced from 26 to 25 levs, and for those over 68 years it is increased to 10 levs.
There are also 24-hour, 72-hour and weekly tickets from Monday to Sunday, with prices of BGN 6, 15 and 20, respectively. A novelty will be the right to use a buffer parking lot with a transport document from land transport, and not only from the subway.
The proposed innovations in the ordinance are yet to be discussed in the commissions of the Sofia Municipal Council and will be voted on at the session on July 21. The new versions of the cards are planned to come into force on September 1, while the paper ticket of BGN 2 and those for 30 and 60 minutes will be introduced from January 1, 2023. "There will be a two-month grace period and from March 1 the validation of all transport documents when boarding will be mandatory ", explained Zarkov.
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