Prague tram drivers win bronze at 2023 European Tramdriver Championship

Tram drivers Nikol Pravdová and Daniel Rašplička have won third place at the Tram-EM tram driving championship in Romania this weekend.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 03.06.2023 16:08:00 (updated on 24.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague's public transport system is routinely cited as one of the best in the world, but how about its drivers? If Prague's performance at the Tram-EM European Tramdriver Championships in Oradea, Romania this weekend are any indication, they're pretty good, too. 

Prague tram drivers took home the bronze medal at the this year's championships, coming in only behind teams from Vienna and Gothenberg, and edging out Stockholm and Zagreb for third place.

The Prague team consisted of Nikol Pravdová and Daniel Rašplička, who took part in the European Tramdriver Championship for the third time this year and greatly improved upon past results. The Prague team finished in 9th place last year and 10th in 2019 (the championship was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic).

The Tram-EM championship is not merely a race: it's a multi-disciplined event where different aspects of driving a tram are put to the test. Disciplines include emergency braking, stopping precisely at a tram stop, driving at an exact speed (without the help of a speedometer), measuring side clearance on a curve, and even "tram bowling", where drivers use their vehicle to hit a giant inflatable ball into pins.

The competition is open to all European municipalities, who may submit a team consisting of one male tram driver, one female tram driver, and one supervisor. The competition is split into two rounds, with each driver behind the wheel once.

Drivers are given a score that takes into account both the skill level at each discipline and the time taken to complete them. The competition aims to give tram drivers an international platform to display their expertise.

In case you missed this year's tram driving championships, you can still catch the full livestream on YouTube.

Pravdová has been working for Prague Public Transport (DPP) since 2011. A mother of two, she also enjoys Thai boxing and spending time with her family. Teammate Rašplička also has more than a decade of experience working for DPP, and has a child of his own. Both drivers qualified to represent Prague for the European championship due to their outstanding work.

Prague public transport has more than 125 years of history operating in the Czech capital since horse-drawn trams were first launched in the 1890s. In addition to trams, drivers operate metro cars, trains, buses and trollybuses, and a funicular train up and down Petřín Hill. The system transports an estimated 225 million passengers every year.

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