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Review: České dráhy’s Jizdenka na Leto

The arrival of summer also marks the arrival of tourists and thus more business. To make the most of the larger volumes of business, many European train operators offer discounted Summer Tickets. Jizdenka na leto is České dráhy’s summer ticket. It’s a great opportunity for every expat to explore the beauty of Czech Republic, here’s my experience!

Jizdenka na leto allows truly unlimited travels for a period of 7 or 14 days with no restrictions except that it’s a line operated by them. This cannot be said about all summer tickets, the OBB for instance, has boarding restrictions on weekdays.

Lastly, while I try my best, I am no expert on the matter, so don’t hesitate to report factual inaccuracies!

 

1) Purchasing: How, When, How Much?

1.1 How can you buy it?

The ticket can be purchased on the Ceske Drahy website, to do so, follow this link.  Thanks to a webdesign overhaul and an English website version, the České dráhy website is very easy to use.

While making your purchase, I highly recommend registering with Ceske Drahy. By doing so, you will be to retrieve you tickets within the application sparing the need for a printout.

 

1.2 How much?

Below is a simplified table of fees for Students:

With Concession (ISIC, Inkarta, Seniors etc.)Without Concession
7 days without ISIC= 800 CZK  14 days without ISIC= 1200 CZK
7 days with ISIC* = 700CZK14 days with ISIC* = 1000 CZK

 

1.3 When can you buy it

For the employed or meticulous planners, it’s worth knowing that you can buy the tickets earlier than you can use them. Purchase was possible from 15th June 2018.

Note: The concession is only available from the 1st July 2018 to 31st August 2018.

 

 

2) Using the Application

To lookup trains to your destination, you simply use the website or the application. Another benefit of having the application is the flexibility it gives your planning- there were some journeys whose duration I overestimated, which of course required that I plan new connections.

Looking up connections through the application also ensures that you only board lines that are operated by CD, thereby avoiding the risk of being fined.

Quick Notes:

  • A no-brainer but; The Summer ticket is only for the railways! You will have to buy local transport tickets separately.
  • Bus tickets are bought directly from the driver in smaller towns, you simple name your destination. This is in contrast to ticket-machines found in the big cities.

 

 

3) Value for money

3.1 Jizdenka na Leto Vs Competitors:

 Ceske DrahyDeutsche BahnOBB (Austria)
Price800/1200 CZK2500 CZK* (96 EUR)Youth only (?)
Student Concession:700/1000 CZKNA
1800 CZK (69 EUR)
Boarding Restrictions:NoneNoneWeekdays: 8AM to 3AM only.
No. of RidesUnlimited4 'simple' journeysUnlimited**
Ticket SalesFrom 15th June to AugustFrom 27th June to 15th AugustFrom 11th June
Ticket UseFrom 1st July to 31st AugustFrom 27th June to 27th SeptemberFrom 2nd July to 9th September
Ticket Validity7d/ 14d (July to Aug)3 months2 months
*Unlike Ceske Drahy that accepts ISIC, this concession is only available for those between 20-26 years of age.

**While not clearly stated as unlimited, ticket-validity is the only available information.

 

3.2 Jizdenka na Leto

Being on a student’s allowance, I decided that I didn’t want to spend on accommodation. I achieved this by leaving early and returning before midnight. With a day’s rest between each journey, that comes to 3 x 24 Hr. tickets.

  • 1 x 24 Hr, National ticket = 580 CZK
  • 3 x Tickets = 1740 CZK.
  • Savings = 1740 – 800 CZK
  • Savings: 940 CZK.

In retrospect, I could have gotten more out of the ticket had I not returned home each day. With the savings one makes, one could easily find accommodation for 3-4 nights and spend more time exploring and less time en route.

 

 

4) Ease of Use

4.1 Convenience

The system is rather straightforward; the ticket-checker checks for new faces after every stop, they will not check you twice. To make their job easy, it’s good to have your ticket and your ID at the ready.

  • The ticket could be a print-out, or the e-ticket on your Ceske Drahy mobile application. I used the latter without a problem, but most co-passengers had other documents.
  • Your ID is important to confirm your identity since the ticket is not transferable. Additionally, if you have a complicated foreign name, like mine, that’s another reason for them to ask for some identification. I presented my residence card, I imagine the ISIC is also a valid document since it is what you use to avail of the discount.

 

4.2 Seat Reservation

However, the system is not flawless. For instance, seats are occasionally reserved, unbeknownst to you, who could be peacefully sleeping. There is a system in place for this, however it is not always used.

To check if a seat is reserved, look at the overhead stowage shelf. Next to the seat numbers are also plastic holders. If a seat is reserved, these holders will contain a small rectangular ticket with the passenger details. As I said earlier, I only encountered this system when boarding at Prague. But at no other point in my journey- to the best of my knowledge.

A quick glance at the terms and conditions mentions that it is necessary to purchase a reservation for reservation-required connections. Unfortunately, being unaware of this, I never made reservations. While it never caused any problems for me, I recommend that you ask around for more information.

 

 

5) Finding Connections:

Since I was leaving early and returning late, the same day, it was important for me to return before midnight. With that in mind, I can say I was very satisfied with the frequency of connections.

For almost destinations, connections were not more than 1-2 hours apart. However, this does not hold true to smaller towns.

  • Example; At Kouty nad Desnou the last train is around 6-7PM and the next one was at 3/4AM. If you’re a foreigner travelling alone in a small town, it can be quite nerve-wracking to end up stuck there for the night.

However, I also understand that it is not likely to be profitable for Ceske Drahy to operate connections at all hours, so it is also the travellers responsibility to plan better- a lesson I hope I’ve learned!

IN CONCLUSION:

Czech Nature is unique and beautiful, especially to any foreigner!  The Jizdenka na Leto is a great and convenient offer, so I certainly encourage everyone who has the time, to make the most of it! To get a taste of Czech Nature you can head over to my Portfolio and sort by ‘Forest Trails’.

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