E-talons bus ticket system to be changed over next two years

The Rīga City Council intends to implement changes to the e-ticket system on Rīga public transport, which will be felt by public transport passengers in a year or two, Latvian Radio reported August 19.

Although the 13-year contract for the maintenance of the e-ticket system for Rīga has expired, the enterprise continues to service the system during the transitional period. Rīga Vice Mayor Vilnis Ķirsis (New Unity) said that the costs had been astronomical.

The contract concluded 13 years ago estimated that each year the municipality company “Rīgas satiksme” pays approximately EUR 27 million to the “Rīgas karte” enterprise servicing the tickets.

“Over 10 years, it's more than €200 million. I have recently had talks, for example, with Tallinn's system providers, and they estimate that maintaining such a system could cost €2 million a year in Riga. We've overpaid insane amounts of money,” said Ķirsis.

The “Rīgas Satiksme” agreement with “Rīgas karte” expired at the beginning of this year, so everything has been done to reduce the costs of maintaining the e-ticket system, said Gints Zeltiņš, board member of Rīgas Satiksme.

“It is planned that this takeover could actually take place by the end of the year, namely that 'Rīgas Satiksme' will be able to operate the ticketing system with its resources. Surely we will be able to do this at a lower cost. And this year, in 2021, costs are half that of 2020. If last year the total costs related to the Rīgas Karte were above EUR 20 million, then in the first half of this year it was EUR 4,5 million,” said Zeltiņš.

The new public transport ticket system is expected to start operating in a year or two. It will be a completely new system that will have nothing to do with the existing e-talons system. Riga City Council Vice Mayor Ķirsis said that passengers will be able to pay with various means, including cards and smart devices. In addition, the ticket system will be joined with trains and regional buses.

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