90 mln zł dotacji unijnej na pomorski system FALA

A huge success for Pomerania - 90 million PLN of funding from the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment was obtained for the project entitled: "Increasing accessibility of regional rail transport in the Pomeranian Voivodeship through its integration with local transport - construction of an electronic platform of integrated mobility services". This means that one of the most modern integrated systems of paying for travel in public transport will start operating in the Pomeranian Region already next year. 

Informacja o przyznaniu dofinasowania na realizację projektu ogłoszona została 1 sierpnia 2019 r., po tym jak 31 lipca 2019 roku lista projektów wybranych do dofinansowania została zatwierdzona przez centrum Unijnych Projektów Transportowych. Projekt potocznie nazywany jest integrated ticketing, and the amount of the grant awarded is over PLN 90 million. The total cost of the project is PLN 106.5 million net. 

What exactly is this money to be used for? 

First of all, a highly technologically advanced system will be created, which will enable passengers to travel around the Pomorskie Voivodeship with different carriers without knowing their fares and without looking for ticket offices. The system will contain, among others, passenger accounts, information on ticket prices, routes for buses, trams, trolleybuses and trains, timetables. The mechanism will include a billing application, which will make it possible to bill passengers for journeys on a given route on the basis of identifying them in various means of transport.  An important element of the project will also be a mobile application, enabling route planning and full settlement of the costs of travel by different means of transport. 

Co-financing from POIiŚ is to cover the cost not only of the system, but also the purchase of validating devices installed at train stops in Pomorskie Voivodeship and at selected stations of neighbouring voivodeships, in local transport vehicles of the Tricity agglomeration as well as in Lębork, Malbork, Słupsk, Tczew and Wejherowo, issuing 300 thousand cards (NFC identification carriers), organising about 30 customer service points as well as conducting an educational and information campaign throughout the voivodeship. 

The basic assumption is as follows: the system will enable the passenger to pay for travel without the need to know the ticket prices (tariffs) valid on specific routes and in specific cities. This means that when getting on and off the vehicle, the passenger will only have to "punch in" on a special validator (cash register). The electronic tool will determine which vehicle it is, which carrier it belongs to, how long the journey took and what to charge. 

The overriding functional characteristics of the system are to be ease of use, intuitive, reliable and accurate billing. 

InnoBaltica, a company owned by the Pomeranian Voivodeship, Gdansk and Gdynia, as well as three universities, is responsible for implementing the project: University of Gdansk, Gdansk University of Technology and Gdansk Medical University. 

New elements in the public space

The basic elements that both passengers and carriers will have to deal with on a daily basis will be the terminal equipment (e.g. validators) and the passenger identification media. Validators are new elements that will appear in the public space. They will be devices installed in vehicles (buses, trams and trolleybuses) and at train stops throughout the Pomeranian Voivodeship.

The passenger will use one of four identification media to bounce. He will have a choice between a smartphone app, a dedicated card, a credit card and a ticket with a QR code. 

Although a large part of the operation of the payment system will be transferred to electronic systems, passengers will be assisted by Customer Service Points, which will be located at major transport hubs. At these points, each passenger will be able both to buy a single ticket with a QR code and obtain a reusable ID. Point staff will assist in creating an account and activating the application or card. 

Benefits not only for passengers.  

It is worth mentioning here the main benefits for the main stakeholders in public transport. 


The main benefit for this group will be the ability to travel freely on the vehicles of various transport operators without the need to know the ticket prices and without holding cash. The passenger will not waste time looking for a ticket office or point of sale, because all the formalities related to payment for travel will be handled electronically. 

The system will be able not only to charge and collect the appropriate amounts, but also - under certain conditions - to optimise the fare according to the passenger's entitlement, thus making the journey cheaper in many cases.

The journey planner is a tool which, in cooperation with the billing system, will allow passengers to plan their journey in various variants, e.g. taking into account the distance, price or time optimisation. An important element of the journey planner will be facilities for the disabled (e.g. the possibility to check without leaving home which course is served by a low-floor vehicle and how it is connected with other courses of that standard). 

On-line passenger information will also be updated in real time. All this will simplify the use of transport services and make public transport much more passenger-friendly than it is now. 

Transport organisers 

One of the main benefits for transport organisers will be a precise and automatic settlement of ticket revenues. It is also assumed to increase the economic effectiveness of subsidies to regional transport and to automate and tighten the system for settling subsidies to transport operators for honouring statutory reductions. This is to increase the profitability and effectiveness of the transport offer while maintaining autonomous tariffs of individual organizers. 

At the same time, the system will enable organisers and operators to obtain detailed statistical data on transport, which in turn should translate into the optimisation of transport routes in Pomorskie Voivodeship. 

By integrating the data, it will be possible to synchronise timetables at major transport hubs.
The data collected by the system will also be used to introduce tariff solutions to reduce road congestion in certain areas of Pomerania, as well as for strategic transport planning. 

The name was chosen by the inhabitants 

The new system of paying for tickets will be called FALA. This decision was made by the inhabitants of Pomerania, because the name was selected through a competition from more than three thousand submitted proposals. 

It is worth emphasising at this point that the councils of the largest cities in Pomeranian voivodship have already adopted resolutions declaring accession to a common toll collection system, as well as resolutions reserving funds (as part of multi-annual financial forecasts) for maintenance of the system.

Not only POIiŚ 

InnoBaltica is also co-financing this objective from other sources. As part of the Interconnect project (South Baltic Interreg programme), it is working together with Germany, Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia and Sweden to develop a model for paying for public transport journeys that will enable tourists and business people from all these countries to use public transport across borders without problems. Work in this area has already yielded PLN 6.7 million and pilot work is currently underway to implement technical solutions in this area. InnoBaltica has also received funding from the ELENA financial instrument of nearly PLN 10 million for technical assistance in the development and implementation of the system.

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