A jungle of tickets becomes two cards in Lisbon
The commuters of Lisbon used to live in a jumbled jungle of different tickets for the trams, buses, ferries, trains and underground. Each one of the 14 operators had its own bouquet of tariffs.
Now it has been cleaned up and all put on only two cards – one for frequent users and the other for more occasional travellers. “Until 2000, you really needed to be an expert to understand all the ticket systems and which tickets were the best for you. Most people need intermodal transportation,” says João Almeida, systems integration manager at the Link consultancy.
The 14 operators, both private and public, developed a Calypso contactless smart card ticketing system with two cards. The Lisboa Viva pass is personalized with a photo of the holder. It carries
a dual-interface chip where customer ID and tickets or long-term passes are loaded electronically. So far, 840.000 cards have been issued.
The Sete Colinas card is a completely electronic and contactless paper ticket. It is not reloadable. The card replaced all old paper tickets but with a new set of integrated fares.
“Now people don’t have to decide on operators or where to travel when they buy their cards,” says João Almeida. “The user friendliness and simplicity of the fare system are the main advantages for the citizens of Lisbon.”
One idea for the future is to integrate the parking payment system in the cards. The idea is that once the car users have the option of public transportation already in their pocket, they will hopefully become at least occasional users.