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Prague Mayor announces end of problematic smart card

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Prague, Jan 25 (CTK) – The problematic smart card project Opencard, operated by a private firm and used by people to pay for public transport in the city, will be replaced by a new system that is administered exclusively by municipal bodies, Prague Mayor Adriana Krnacova (ANO) told journalists yesterday.
She said the Opencard was overpriced, obsolete and useless.
Krnacova declared last year that Opencard would end within two years. The Prague City Hall will start issuing the new cards in February and the system will be launched fully in summer.
At present, the new system is being tested.
Opencard is an electronic card Praguers can use as a public transport pass. Introduced a few years ago, it has cost the city minimally 1.75 billion crowns. The project includes a number of controversial contracts that the city has been laboriously but so far unsuccessfully trying to eliminate for a long time.
The copyright for the card is owned by the eMoneyServices company, which claims that the city owes more than 600 millions crowns to it. The eMoneyServices is a successor to Haguess, with which the City Hall signed the original contracts.
The project was launched in the late 2000s when the Civic Democrats (ODS) dominated the City Hall and Pavel Bem was Prague mayor.
Experts and commentators have called the project clearly overpriced. They also voiced embarrassment at the prosecution targeting subordinate officials, with Bem and other former Prague councillors figuring only as witnesses in the court proceedings.
Krnacova said yesterday the costs of the new project operated by a municipal firm, Operator ICT, would not exceed 10 million crowns.
She said the change would not cause any problems to those using the public transport in the city.
“This is one of the important steps that will gradually lead to the solution of the problem with Opencard,” Krnacova said.
($1=25.002 crowns)

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