Smart Cards in Lisbon: the Lisboa Viva Card and the 7 Colinas Card (Portugal)

By News Editor / Updated: 29 Aug 2014

The case study provides an overview of the introduction of smart-card technology for PT users in Lisbon, Portugal

Background & Objectives

At the end of 2001, the Metropolitano de Lisboa installed a new ticketing and access control system to the city’s public underground network, changing from an open access system to a closed one with control lines and access channels equipped with electronically controlled doors. This new access system required a major change in the ticketing system, involving the introduction of magnetic tickets and ‘contactless’ cards.



Two types of cards have being introduced:

  • The Lisboa Viva replaced the traditional pass and was targeted mainly for the passengers who use regularly the public transport system of the Lisbon region.
  • The 7 Colinas card was introduced in March 2004 and is intended for the less frequent passengers. The card has an acquisition cost of 0,5 euros and is valid for one year. The card allows the loading of fares exclusive to each associated operator, multi-modal fares, and combined fares

Both cards are fitted with embedded electronic chip technology. Users swipe cards validating machines at stations' gated entrance channels. The machine reads and validates the data loaded in the chip and, provided the card is valid, it enables the access to the networks that use this card. In the buses there are two validating machines working on the same principle but without barriers.

Results: successes (and initial problems)

Positive impacts

  • Gated access to the Metro system provides greater security and revenue protection
  • Faster ticketing
  • Better knowledge of origin-destination flows within the metro system
  • Systematic collection of data regarding the entrance point in the bus network
  • Integrated ticketing between bus and underground for non-frequent users.

Negative impacts

  • Congestion at entrances and exits from underground stations, due to the introduction of validating machines
  • Not every selling point is equipped with charging machines (user may have to go to other destinations to charge cards)
  • Initial information campaigns regarding smart cards were too short, resulting in confusion over the use of cards, which added to delays in users entry/exit times.


Further information: The Lisboa Viva card explained

Information about current fares

Collective passenger transport
Pedro Santos
fares - fare structure
planning - customer satisfaction
planning - ticketing
booking and ticketing
PDF icon case_study_lisbon.pdf67.16 KB
27 Mar 2007
29 Aug 2014