Prague Public Transit has yet to outfit more trams with air conditioning, blames COVID-19

Despite previous reports, an additional 124 Škoda ForCity 15T trams will not be fitted with a/c by the end of the year

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 19.08.2020 10:52:00 (updated on 07.10.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Last year, Prague’s public transport authority DPP had announced that an additional 124 Škoda ForCity 15T trams would be retrofitted with air conditioning by the end of 2020.

A total of 251 Škoda ForCity 15T trams run through Prague’s streets, but the city only reached an agreement to outfit them with upgraded features halfway through their production, leaving half of the fleet with no air conditioning or wireless internet.

“If we take cities across Europe, Prague has been one of the cities least-equipped with air conditioning on public transport,” Adam Scheinherr, Prague’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, said at the time, defending the 400 million crown price tag for outfitting the 124 vehicles with a/c.

More than halfway through 2020, however, and in the midst of a heatwave in the Czech capital, and exactly zero of the 124 vehicles have been outfitted with a/c – nor will any by the end of the year. DPP blames the coronavirus pandemic for the delay.

“During the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we reassessed the priorities of individual investment projects in agreement with the city management,” DPP spokesperson Daniel Šabík told journalists this week.

“The investment in air conditioning for the 15T trams has therefore been postponed for this year.”

Instead of the air conditioning on trams, DPP has chosen to focus on the planned Metro D line, repairs on existing tram lines, and new electric vehicles including the first new trolleybus to go into operation in the Czech capital since 1960.

The Škoda ForCity 15T vehicles represent about 30% of the total number of trams in Prague, meaning only 15% of the vehicles come equipped with a/c. Those aren’t great odds for catching a cool ride as temperatures soar over 30°C by the end of this week.

But those with a sharp eye can always make sure they take the right tram.

PSA: If you’re waiting for a tram in Prague’s summer heat and have some time to kill, you can identify a tram outfitted with a/c based on its front colors. The newer Škoda ForCity 15T models will have a white & yellow trim on the front of the vehicles, as opposed to only gray, meaning these are the ones equipped with air conditioning.

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