Public transport in Bratislava
Public transport in Bratislava is the biggest public transport network in Slovakia. It is managed by Dopravný podnik Bratislava, a city-owned company. The transport system is known as Mestská hromadná doprava (MHD, Municipal Mass Transit). The history of public transportation in Bratislava began in 1895, with the opening of the first tram route. Public transport in Bratislava is paid and travellers are obliged to buy their tickets before entering the vehicle. Revenue from tickets cover approximately 40% of expenses, 60% is paid by city.
At the end of the 19th century, Bratislava (then Pressburg/Pozsony) was still suffering after losing the status as the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary. Now being a provincial city of political and economical mid-importance its development lagged behind its European neighbours. The main means of transport at this time was horse-driven and later steam-powered railways.
On 23 March 1881 an engineer from Vienna, Nicolaus Markovits, submitted the project documentation for a city horse-driven railway in Bratislava to the directorship of King's Hungarian state railways. Its path was from the Danube riverbank through the city to the Austrian state railway station. It was supposed to be connected to the Bratislava – Trnava wagonway, belonging to the King's Hungarian state railways.
In the 1990s, transport jams became a routine occurrence in Bratislava, affecting public transport vehicles which became stuck at places like Patrónka or Prístavný most. A major contributing factor was the lack of an inner circle, which today consists of parts of motorways D1 and D2 in Bratislava. While its two crucial points, bridges over river Danube, Prístavný most and Lafranconi bridge partially opened in 1983 and 1990 respectively, it was not until 2002 that Prievoz viaduct on motorway D1 opened, the D1 part Viedenská – Prístavný most was finished in 2005 and the Sitina Tunnel finished the ring in 2007.
The system uses three main types of vehicles: buses, trams and trolleybuses. Buses cover almost the entire city and go to the most remote boroughs and areas, with 70 daily routes, 20 night routes and other routes on certain occasions.
Today, trams (streetcars) cover heavily-used commuter routes, except for the biggest borough, Petržalka. Trams in Bratislava have 1 000 mm gauge (so called metre gauge) with one-way current of 600 V (originally 550 V). All trams driving in the city since 1895 are electric; there were never any horse-driven or steam-powered trams in Bratislava. The city's tram network belongs among the oldest continually operated tram systems that is still functional to this day. The length of tram rails in the city is 39.6 kilometres (24.6 mi). There are 152 tram stops served by 8 lines, numbered 2 to 9. The maximum speed for trams in Bratislava is restricted by an internal order to 50 km/h, although this speed is lower in some parts of the network.
Today, trolleybuses serve as a complementary means of transport in the Slovak capital, with 13 routes. The first trolleybus service in Bratislava was established July 19, 1909, being the second oldest such system in the country after the one in High Tatras. This first line was headed from the Roth bullet factory on Pražská Street to Vydrica Valley. Its total length was 5,800 metres (3.6 mi) and it was served by seven vehicles. Due to technical and financial difficulties, the service on this line was terminated after six years, in 1915. In the period between the world wars, Bratislava was left without a trolleybus system. First talks about its restoration emerged only right before the Second World War.
Trolleybuses returned to the city on 31 July 1941. Line M connected Slovak National Theatre and the Bratislava hlavná stanica. In 1951, the first Škoda 7Tr trolleybuses appeared. In 1953, trolleybuses reached Trnavské mýto, two years later Šafárikovo námestie. Most of the current trolleybus network infrastructure was built before 1960. Afterwards, buses started to be preferred in Bratislava. Many trolleybus lines were shortened or cancelled altogether. After the 1970s energy crisis, the importance of trolleybuses increased somewhat. New lines were built and new vehicles were bought. Since 1982, the iconic Škoda 14Tr appeared in the city. Between 1960 and 1990 there were approximately 10 lines (No. 210 – No. 220).
During the 1990s, Škoda 15Tr trolleybuses appeared, and replaced the Škoda Sanos vehicles. In 1999, a new line to Národný ústav srdcových chorôb (NÚSCH) and Národný onkologický ústav was opened. The last line to date was built in 2006 from Molecova to Kuklovská in Dlhé diely. This line is not connected to the rest of the city network and it is being serviced by Škoda 25Tr trolleybuses with hybrid electric-diesel engines.
Since 2002, Bratislava is divided into three zones (two from 2000 until 2002; in Slovak tarifné pásmo). Zones only affects travelcards, one-time tickets are valid on all services irrespective of route.
Availability of travelcards based on zone validity was/is following:
|Zone 1 only||Zone 2 only||Zones 1 and 2|
|up to 7 days
since introduction of zone system
|30 or more days
sold on or before 31st of July, 2011
|30 or more days
sold on or after 1st of August, 2011
No travelcards are available for zone 3, since this is located out of Bratislava borders and have different sources of financing. As of 1 August 2011, all travelcards will be sold valid for both zone 1 and 2, however, zones will remain to legally exist since they are needed for travelcards purchased on or before 31 of July 2011. Zone-based tickets are also planned to be reintroduced once Bratislavská integrovaná doprava, this time only affecting passengers traveling from other village or town and using one-time ticket. Special fares apply to routes 801 (to Rajka, Hungary) and 901 (to Hainburg, Austria). 801 accepts the standard fare as long as the passenger doesn't leave Bratislava, 901 does not accept domestic passengers and therefore does not accept standard fare on any part of its route.
Tickets and travelcards for up to 7 days are sold only in some newsstands, railway stations and other partners, there are also ticket vending machines. All tickets and travelcards are sold at DPB offices. Drivers do not sell tickes (except international lines 801 and 901). There is special fare for night services, however, travelcards will be accepted after 1 August 2011 (until 31 July they are only accepted with night surcharge). Tickets for 70 minutes or 24 hours can be bought via SMS (Slovak mobile operators only), travelcards for 30, 90 or 365 days can be bought online at www.dpb.sk if customer owns RFID card issued by DPB or ZSSK or ISIC card with RFID chip personalized to use in DPB. There is extra charge for 70 minutes ticket bought via SMS, no extra is charged for SMS ticket for 24 hours and travelcards bought over the Internet.
Drivers usually do not check tickets (although they are allowed to do so based on their decision), tickets are checked randomly by ticket inspectors (Slovak: revízor). The penalty for travelling without valid ticket between 2009 and July 2011 is 50 EUR (lowered to 40 EUR when paid within 5 workdays). In 2007, Dopravný podnik Bratislava collected 55 million Slovak crowns per year on fees collected from "black travelers".
Since most of the funds needed to operate the public transport system in Bratislava come from taxes, coupled with the fact that the cost of the ticket system itself is substantial, there have been proposals from economics experts to abolish the ticket system altogether and cover the rest with taxes and advertisement income. The most well-known of these proposals comes from Richard Sulík, current leader of the political party Freedom and Solidarity. He estimated the yearly sum needed from added taxation to 400 million Slovak crowns that he proposed to obtain by raising the real estate tax by 30%. At least one Mayor of Bratislava electoral candidate ran on a platform of providing public transport for free based on the concept of Sulík.
A 10% discount on travelcards for 30 or more days is offered to owners of Bratislavská mestská karta – Maestro PayPass card issued only to residents of Bratislava. Bratislavská mestská karta is also used to hold travelcard on its RFID chip - since there is no photo on it, passenger is required to present his ID with card to verify that he is owner of travelcard.
Bratislava integrated transport (BID)
Bratislava Integrated Transport (Bratislavská integrovaná doprava) is planned transportation system linking trains, suburban buses and intra-city transportation. All these modes should accept same tickets (based on zone validity) and also should be more connected (for example, suburban buses would wait few minutes for delayed trains so passengers can change). One of ideas is to move people from buses to trains by providing better connecting buses to trains, but BID also aims to get people from cars and lower congestion. Project is heavy delayed after failing to launch in March 2008, in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
At this moment, several project are or were running as testing phase of BID:
- Passengers with travelcards for 30 or more days can pay surcharge of 1,66 EUR per month (0,83 EUR for passengers with discounted tickets) which allows them to ride trains within city borders of Bratislava without any limits. In addition, these customers can use suburban buses operated by Slovak Lines Regio between stops Bratislava, Autobusová stanica Mlynské nivy (central bus station), Bratislava, Záhorská Bystrica, Krče and all intermediate stops.
- Route 630 to Chorvátsky Grob is example of typical BID line: It has number, share fares with intra-city transportation (although in slightly different way than in final project of BID) and doesn't run to city centre, but only to first large terminal in Bratislava where changes to other modes of transportation (trams and buses) are available. In addition, it terminates next to large shopping center. These services are donated by Chorvátsky Grob.
- In past, train service were running between Bratislava-Predmestie and Bratislava-Východné stations. Trains had line number 155 and accepted all intra-city transportation tickets. Service was originally launched at 8 September 2006 as replacement for buses due to renovation of railway crossing. It was partly donated by ŽSR (Železnice Slovenskej republiky, owner of infrastructure) by not charging ZSSK (train operator) for using railway and stations as compensation for blocking buses from operation between Vychodne and trams Raca. All other expenses were covered by DPB which also kept whole fare incomes. After completion of works and reintroducing buses between Vychodne and Raca, service continued to operate (without donation from ŽSR), however they were reduced to peak times. While these trains were popular, service was terminated and restored few times due to financing issues. Route does not operate since 2 April 2007, but boroughs of Raca, Vajnory still demands its restoration. There are also proposals to extend line to city center, while Vrakuňa borough demanded extension to station Podunajské Biskupice. These plans are unlikely to be applied in near future due to high charge for using railways, which is one of highest in Europe.
Three types of transportation are provided:
- buses 464 vehicles, 70 lines, 17 night lines (night lines running 7 days a week, running at 30 minute – 1 hour intervals)
- trams (streetcars) 230 vehicles, 8 lines
- trolleybuses 123 vehicles, 14 lines, 3 night lines
Operating hours is from 4:00 am to 11:30 pm every day. Operating hours night lines is 11:30 pm to 4:00 am every day, too.
- Dopravný podnik Bratislava – for information about the company running the Public transport system in Bratislava
- Transport in Bratislava – for information about the transport in Bratislava in general
- Economy of Bratislava – for more information about the economic background of Bratislava
- "Z histórie (History)" (in Slovak). Dopravný podnik Bratislava. 2004. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
- "Trasy liniek (routes)" (in Slovak). Dopravný podnik Bratislava. 2007. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
- "Pilotný projekt nočných liniek MHD od 1. júla 2007" (in Slovak). Dopravný podnik Bratislava. 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2007.