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Foreigner's Guide Through the Public Transport System in Bratislava
by Jozef Purdes
1. The basics
The public transport system in Bratislava (PTSB) consists of busses, trams and electro-busses. Because the busses account for the vast majority of the transport system, I will use them for my examples. To use it, you have to purchase a ticket, which you then mark in the bus once you get in.
2. Tickets and their prices
Tickets are time limited, and not limited for the number of bus lines
Student, or cheap tickets, apply to students enrolled into Slovak schools and to all people of Slovak residence 16 years old and younger.
Slovak residents 6 years old or younger and 70 years old or older travel for free.
Luggage, for which it is necessary to pay, is larger than 30 x 40 x 60 cm (12"x16"x24"). Even though I have never seen anybody checking it, but it's your risk if you don't pay for it.
The aminal ticket covers one person and the animal.
Recently, the PTSB introduced a new type of tickets - combined tickets. These tickets can be used by one person accompanied by one child or one piece of luggage (1) or a person with two children (2). There are many more types of tickets; the ones mentioned above are the most common. The basic ticket in each category is the 30 min. ticket.
The tickets have to be stamped upon boarding the bus, using special machines spread all over the vehicle.
3. Where to buy tickets
Tickets are not sold in busses. You can either buy them in news stands, or in special ticket machines on some bus stations. Common sense is to buy the 30 min. regular ticket. If you buy your ticket in the ticket machine, please be aware of what coins to use. Also, often these machines are damaged - the machine will "eat your money." This is being caused by vandals who stuff the coin slot. A good thing to do is to carry a coin of the smalest denomination (SKK 0.10) and throw that in first. If it falls all the way through, the machine should be safe.
4. What to do if you are caught
The compliance with the tarriff rules is checked and enforced by a group of people, called "Revizors". They board random busses and have the right to check everybody for having their travel tickets stamped and still valid (remember the time limit). These people also have the right to fine you if your ticket is missing or not valid.
However, be aware that many times these people are far from being honest, prone to blackmail, but also bribery. If you have to pay the fine, it is 100 times the price of the ticket you were supposed to buy (usually SKK 1,400). Upon paying, the revizor has to give you a proof of payment. If he does not, the money will most likely end in his pocket. For luggage and animals, the fine is five times the price of the ticket.
If you can't or don't want to pay, the revizor has the right to ask you for an identification card. You, however, have the right to refuse to show one, and I would advise you to do so. Often, the revizor will keep hold of your ID (even a passport) and blackmail you to pay more, in order to get your ID back (even though I never got into this situation, I have heard about such cases happening to people I know and trust).
If you refuse to show your ID, the revizor has the right to call police. However, he has no right to hold you anywhere, and if you decide to walk away, you can. If, however, the police comes, you must oblige with showing the police your ID, but you can ask to keep your identity secret from the revizor, and the police has to comply.
As mentioned before, revizors are prone to bribery. Sometimes, they might ask you to pay much less in exchange for not giving you the prooof of payment. It is up to you whether you agree to that or not, but be ready to take possible consequences as well. However, it is a common sense not to offer a bribe first, especially since that would constitute another leverage for possible blackmail.
This guide is neither complete nor describing common situations. It should be taken as a warning of what might happen, and not what will certainly happen. Also, the ticket price and other specifics are subjects to sudden changes. Even though I will try to keep this guide as current as possible, please make me aware of possible ommissions by writing me to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last update: June 14, 2001
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