The government made a bold move today by approving free rail transport for children, students (under 26) and pensioners, as part of its 15-point programme aimed at boosting the quality of life of the most vulnerable groups.
The free train rides (2nd class), will apply to only certain lines starting on 17 November, a nice touch as it just so happens to be the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Minister of transport Jan Pociatek said the EUR 13 million or so to cover the special allowance has already been charged to next year’s budget.
Students, children and the elderly will be able to enjoy the free transport on all trains operated by the state-run passenger rail operator ZSSK as well as the line between Bratislava and Komarno operated by RegioJet, as it is subsidised by the state. The new measure doesn’t cover trains that are not subsidised by the state, which means all the Intercity (IC) and Eurocity (EC) trains, for instance.
A sticking point for children is that a ticket has to be bought if they are aged between 6-15, but it costs nothing if presenting a pre-issued card. Children under six don’t need a ticket at all. Students have to show their student card and pensioners some proof of age.