For those of us who use public transport in Bucharest (be it out of necessity or simply for the hell of it) one of the most useful developments in recent years was the launch of the Activ Card: a kind of Oyster for Bucharest which could be loaded up with season tickets or simply pay-as-you-go credit and used on all forms of the city’s public transport network.
Well, all good things must come to an end, and it was announced today that as of April 14th the cards will no longer be valid on the metro. The reason is that RATB (which operates surface transport in Bucharest and which issues the cards) owes Metrorex (which operates the metro) as much as 20 million lei.
The joint RATB/Metro tickets valid for 60 minutes (which cost 5 lei) and 24 hours (which cost 16 lei) are also affected, and can no longer be purchased. For visitors to and residents of Bucharest alike it’s a return to the old days of separate tickets for bus and metro. How very 20th-century.
One easy solution to all this nonsense would be a little joined-up thinking at the Ministry of Transport: create a Transport for Bucharest umbrella organisation which would operate all forms of public transport in the capital (and, for good measure, look after taxi licenses/regulations). The authority would be overseen by the city council.
Simple, really, when you think about it. Perhaps that’s the problem.