Automatic refunds and a new e-shop: Czech Railways steps up its digital game

Czech Railways set on improving its online presence and modernizing its fleet of aging stock. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 23.11.2022 10:35:00 (updated on 23.11.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech Railways (ČD) is simplifying online check-in services and will automatically issue refunds to passengers if a train is delayed by more than an hour. Customers will also have the opportunity to rate their trip online.

These and other changes will enable passengers to use ČD’s services more efficiently, Transport Minister Martin Kupka said in a press release.

"The increase in online traffic, the use of ČD’s Můj vlak mobile application, the new version of the e-shop, which will simplify and speed up the process of purchasing tickets via mobile devices, are all evidence that Czech Railways is moving with the digital age," Kupka said.

The focus on modern technologies together with investments in the new vehicle fleet will help ČD maintain its position in the liberalized railway market, he added. The Czech rail system has been slowly opening up to competition since 1995, and private operators began to run routes between major cities in 2011. The Czech government voted to further open up the market in 2017.

One in 10 Czechs has the Můj vlak app on their phone, and the share of passengers using online check-in is rising. More than a million people have downloaded the app. “In order for this trend to continue and for us to sell at least half of all travel documents online, we are coming up with new products that will make electronic check-in even simpler and more attractive," ČD CEO and board chairman Michal Krapinec said.

Automatic refunds for e-tickets

Passengers who purchase an electronic ticket and whose train is delayed by over 60 minutes are automatically compensated without having to ask for a refund, Krapinec added.

Automatic compensation for online ČD domestic tickets applies to a direct journey without a transfer. If the system registers a delay of more than 60 minutes for the train at the destination station of the ticket and the ticket was checked by the conductor on the train, it will issue an automatic compensation.

Another change for domestic ČD online tickets will be an end to the price limit for claiming compensation. Until now, the minimum ticket price for compensation was CZK 360 for a delay of over 60 minutes or CZK 180 for over 120 minutes. People who purchase paper tickets can also get compensation for delays, but must fill out a request form and wait for it to be processed.

Easier online shopping for mobile devices

ČD customers who use the e-shop to buy tickets will see the first phase of the new version of the portal. The process of purchasing tickets in the e-shop on mobile devices will be reduced from 10 steps to six on mobile devices and will be closer to the mobile app.

Passengers at the end of the trip will also have the opportunity to rate their trip through the Můj vlak application.

If all tickets from various online services are included, ČD sold 39.3 percent of tickets online as of October of this year. In 2019, only 28.2 percent of tickets were sold this way. The national carrier makes an average of 6,736 connections per day, covering approximately 118 million kilometers during the year.

New trains and new routes

In the new 2023 timetable, Czech Railways will significantly expand the range of services on its trains. It will increase to a daily offering of approximately 630 connections with Wi-Fi, 560 with electrical sockets, 210 with available bicycle transport, and 280 of them will be barrier-free.

A new timetable will come into effect in mid-December. The connection time to the south of Bohemia will be shortened and a new night train will connect Prague with Dresden, Leipzig, Frankfurt, and Basel. Passengers in a number of regions can also look forward to new, modern trains replacing the ones from the 1990s. The use of electric trains will also be expanded, the Transport Ministry said.

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