Prague transit pass increase will likely be more affordable than previously reported

Both Praha Sobě and the Pirates want to keep public transit affordable for Prague residents

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 21.07.2020 10:51:00 (updated on 07.10.2020) Reading time: 4 minutes

Prague City Hall coalition party Praha Sobě is pushing for annual public transit passes to increase by 365 CZK, which is much lower than the almost 50% increase that had been proposed last week.

Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha Sobě), responsible for transport, and Praha Sobě club leader Jan Čižinský will push in the coalition to increase the annual public transport coupon by 1 CZK per day from the beginning of next year, with a similar increase repeated in the coming years. Praha Sobě also wants to increase the price of one-time fares and adjust the system of discounts.

News server last week reported that the annual transit coupon could rise from the current 3,650 CZK to 5,500 CZK, but Scheinherr has denied those reports.

The Pirate Party, which leads the current City Hall coalition, also said that they reject a drastic increase in the price of the annual coupon.

Scheinherr says an increase is necessary because the share of fare revenues in the costs of operating Prague public transport is declining every year. It should have been around 19% this year, but due to the decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the number may drop to 12%, according to Scheinherr.

The proposed annual increase in the price of 365 CZK should stabilize this trend and ensure that sales reflect rising costs.

The 5,500 CZK price for an annual coupon comes from research by Prague transport Ropid together with the consulting company Deloitte.

The Pirates stated in a press release that they reject a drastic increase in the price of the annual coupon. “We are only now discussing all topics related to the revision of the city budget in the Prague coalition with coalition partners. In particular, Pirates demand internal savings in the [Prague Public Transit Company, DPP],” the Pirates said.

“The transport company is under the control of a coalition partner— Praha Sobě. A fundamental requirement in the discussion on fares, which is still ongoing, is transparency and control of the management of the DPP for Pirates. Especially in the area of tenders and contracts, it is necessary to set clear rules in response to what has happened there in the past. It is essential to look for savings on the transport company’s operating expenses. The Pirates want to keep the available price of the annual coupon and coupon subscriptions in public transport in accordance with the election program. Furthermore, the Pirates do not want to restrict public transport in any way,” they added.

The Pirates also want to reduce the price of the monthly coupon, which many low-income people rely on. “Instead of increasing the price, we want to reduce the price of the monthly coupon to a fair price so everyone will be able to buy it. That means around 400 CZK (now it’s 550 CZK). This will relieve low-income groups that use it the most,” the Pirates said.

“Yes, it is true that the city lost a significant part of its income as a result of the coronavirus crisis. But first, it is necessary to look for savings by improving the management of the transport company and not to burden the wallets of Praguers unless it is necessary,” they added.

“Prague’s public transport is one of the best in the world and we want its popularity to continue to grow as before,” they concluded.

Čižinský said that Praha Sobě is also trying to find a way to enable the monthly repayment of an annual coupon without the need for a financial instrument that could lead to debt traps.

According to the Praha Sobě proposal, one-off tickets should also become more expensive. “We would also like to increase the price of one-off tickets from January, but we do not yet have a specific rate; it is about negotiations with coalition partners,” Scheinherr explained.

The proposed changes in the tariff should also include the abolition of certain discounts, which according to Praha Sobě do not make economic sense, and, conversely, the strengthening of discounts for the disabled. According to Scheinherr, the company should receive a total of 700 million CZK more per year.

He added that he has been looking for savings in the DPP since he took office, and that new contracts have already been concluded, which mean savings of tens to hundreds of millions of crowns a year for the company. “I rather do not understand the criticism from the coalition partners because they did not come up with any proposals themselves,” he said.

Prague reduced the annual coupon for public transport in 2015 from the original 4,750 CZK to 3,650 CZK. The operation of Prague’s public transport last year cost about 21 billion CZK, the municipality subsidized it with about 17 billion CZK.

Scheinherr pointed out that if public transport were to be financed only from the fare, the passenger would pay 18,000 CZK for an annual coupon.

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