SL learns its ABCs

Stockholm Transport (SL) has once again redrawn its map. The 600,000 passengers that travel on Stockholm’s public transportation system every day will now pay increased fares for their daily commute. The longer they travel, the more they will pay.

After a zone-free trial period beginning in May 2006, Stockholm Transport reintroduced a three-zone system – A, B, and C – for Stockholm’s local public transportation on April 1st. The previous system prior to May 2006 consisted of five zones.

As of March 31st, it is also no longer possible to purchase tickets on board buses, although they are still available at subway stations and most commuter train stations. The idea behind the decision was to eliminate cash handling by bus drivers, thereby reducing the risk of robbery, improving safety and making travel more efficient through reduced lines.

SL also placed more than 300 ticket vending machines, which take either cash or card, at bus stops around Stockholm county.

“The main point is that it always pays off to purchase your ticket in advance,” said SL in a statement.

Even though SL also raised the price of a 30-day card from 600 to 620 kronor, it is still the most cost-effective way to travel, especially if you use public transportation on a daily basis. A 30-day card allows passengers to travel anywhere within the public transportation system regardless of the number of zones.

Without a 30-day card, the cheapest way to travel is with a ‘remsa’ (coupon strip), which was reintroduced along with the new zone system. A ‘remsa’ contains 16 coupons and costs 160 kronor for full fare and 95 kronor for reduced fare, which is available for youths under age 20 and seniors over age 65.

A one-hour journey within the first zone requires two coupons. With a ‘remsa’, a full-fare trip on the subway from T-centralen to Mörby Centrum would cost 20 kronor, as would a trip from Slussen to St. Eriksplan. Travel within the second and third zone requires three and four coupons, costing 30 and 40 kronor, respectively.

With the one-zone system in place since May, travellers paid 20 kronor for a one-hour ticket valid anywhere within the entire public transportation.

Single pre-paid tickets are also available for purchase by sms, from vending machines or at local retailers such as Pressbryån. It is only possible to purchase tickets by sms with Telia and Tele2/Comviq as other mobile operators are not yet equipped to handle this.

To purchase a ticket by sms, send a message to 72150. ‘H’ indicates full fare (helpris) while ‘R’ indicates reduced fare. Travel within the various zones is indicated by the letter of the zone, such as ‘A’. ‘HABC’ would indicate a full-fare journey covering all three zones. The cost of the ticket will be deducted from your mobile bill or from the balance on your pre-paid calling card.

Travel within one zone with a single pre-paid or sms ticket costs 26 kronor. A journey covering three zones costs 52 kronor.

The entire subway system is now included in the first zone, which covers almost the entire city of Stockholm as well as Solna, Sundbyberg, Danderyd, Lidingö and Nacka. In the previous system, the first zone only covered subway stops in inner-city Stockholm.

The commuter train stations Spånga, Sundbyberg, Ulriksdal, Solna, Karlberg, Centralen, Stockholm södra, Årstaberg, Älvsjö and Farsta strand are also included within the first zone.

Prepaid single tickets that were purchased prior to April 1st are valid until December 31st, 2007.