Czech rail carrier bumps up prices, but cuts journey times

České dráhy rail fares have now increased by 15 percent on average, but many journey times have been truncated thanks to modernization efforts.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 13.12.2022 08:30:00 (updated on 13.12.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Price rises and new timetables of the state’s national rail operator, České dráhy (ČD), came into force Sunday. Despite prices increasing an average of 15 percent, some connections between Czechia’s cities will be made faster as the state carrier continues its modernization aims.

It was announced in October that ČD’s rail fares would rise by 15 percent on average, with the cost of some journeys (such as multi-day tickets) going up by 30 percent. Increasing fuel, infrastructure, and personnel costs were – unsurprisingly – blamed for the increases in price.

"We tried to maintain a level of price increases that is still bearable, that corresponds to inflation," said Transport Minister Martin Kupka in an interview for iRozhlas.

A journey of about 100 kilometers, for example, will rise from CZK 163 to CZK 188 on average.

ČD FAST FACTS

  • The national carrier has a total of 9,197 different trains in its timetable.
  • ČD makes an average of 6,736 connections per day.
  • ČD trains are estimated to cover 324,000 kilometers per day in 2023.
  • The rail operator transported 120.7 million passengers last year.
  • ČD trains travel approximately 118 million kilometers every year.

    Source: dopravacek.eu

Getting to places faster

The unwelcome introduction of price increases is, however, met by a speedier rail network.

The stand-out journey that has now had its journey time cut is the Prague to České Budějovice route. It will now take ČD express trains 1 hour and 20 minutes to travel between both cities, cutting the duration by 20 minutes.

The maximum speed of the long-distance EuroCity trains is now 160 kilometers per hour (km/h), with the average speed at about 100 km/h.

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"Travel between Prague and many smaller regional centers in the entire South Bohemian Region be significantly accelerated. Traveling from Milevsko, Pelhřimov, Třeboně, Jindřichova Hradec, Lipno nad Vltavou, Bechyně or Český Krumlov to Prague will be about 20 to 30 minutes faster," adds Jiří Ješeta, part of the Board of Directors of ČD, in a press release published Sunday.

Travel times in other areas of the country will also become faster – services between Brno (South Moravia) and Pardubice (East Bohemia) will now be faster by tens of minutes, taking around 2 hours. Travel time between Hradec Králové and Brno will be up to an hour shorter, Parlamentní Listy. Connections between Prague and Ostrava will quicken by between 10 and 20 minutes, ČTK reports.

More international, more modern

The national rail operator also plans to increase its current national and cross-border services. For example, ČD will release a night train between Prague and Zürich (via Germany), and will also establish a day service between Czechia’s capital and Leipzig. It will also offer more services to Kraków.

ČD is also updating its fleet to provide customers with a more pleasant journey. Updates to the EuroCity and InterCity ČD services will now ensure that more trains will have “a bistro car, Wi-Fi internet connection or sockets for recharging travel electronics,” ČD says.

As written in Transporter.cz, ČD has confirmed that 800 more trains will have electric sockets, and 900 more trains will have full Wi-Fi connectivity. A further 700 more trains, compared with the 2022 levels, will be able to store bikes. Some of the newest trains in the ČD fleet will also support the charging of e-bikes and wheelchairs.

CD’s drive for modernization continues, with goals to make future travel times even quicker. For example, the journey between Prague and South Bohemia is planned to be reduced to just 90 minutes. This is in stark contrast with the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the journey had taken more than twice as long.

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