Sofia Residents are Furious with the New Changes of the Public Transport SystemSociety | January 4, 2023, Wednesday // 16:30| views
Hundreds of residents of the Bulgarian capital criticize the changes in public transport, which came into force on January 1, on the Facebook page of the Center for Urban Mobility.
Travelers in Sofia are unhappy with the removal of monthly cards for one line, the inability to charge a ticket at many stops, the removal of sets of 10 charges/tickets for 12 BGN and countless other problems of public transport. But the biggest outrage is one of the more obscure changes - that of mandatory validation.
Read more about the changes here.
Until now, a person with a subscription card could be validated at any of the devices on a bus, tram, trolleybus or simply sit down and the controller would check the validity of the card. However, now it is mandatory to validate yourself when getting into the vehicle - otherwise you pay a fine of BGN 3.
It is much lower than the 40 BGN for an irregular passenger (10 BGN more than before), but it is still almost double the price of the trip. And more importantly, the new rule does not seem to have been thought out by a person who has ever traveled on the capital's transport.
"These people who vote for the mandatory validation of the blue devices, have they boarded a crowded bus in the morning and in the evening? It's impossible to turn around, what's left is to bump into people to validate your card!" explains Facebook user G. Ya.
Several mothers emphasized that this would be a problem for the children. With the youngest, another problem arises - an adult cannot pay for himself and a child with one bank card, he must provide a ticket for the child in another way. Or for a dog, another Facebook user gives an example.
Many point out that this effectively penalizes regular travelers - and that there is no real reason for validation to be mandatory other than to collect fines.
"And don't try to push us this nonsense about the ’insurance’, there is absolutely no basis for this mandatory validation," writes Facebook user T.I.
Many are also concerned about how the data being collected - and providing basic information about how individuals move around the capital - is protected. Of course, all such data should be protected in the same way as other personal data with which the Center for Urban Mobility operates.
The Center replies that there will be no fines for validation if the validators do not work, and that the fines will only start from March - Sofia residents have 3 months to learn.
This is how the mayor of the city, Yordanka Fandakova, argued today.
"I have asked for a grace period until all people get used to it. Based on the information from the validation, analyzes are made of the number of vehicles, their workload, schedules to help make public transport more convenient for citizens. It is difficult to is getting used to the change, but the Center for Urban Mobility will be tolerant," she promised.
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