More buses planned for Václav Havel Airport

Record use of the airport has led to overcrowded buses and long lines

Václav Havel Airport Prague will have increased bus service starting in April. In the long term, the city is still planning either a metro or train connection to the airport. But neither of those options will be ready for many years. In the meantime, bus service will be the main link to the airport.

The bus line 119 from Nádraží Veleslavin metro station will be increased to a three-minute interval so that the line will follow the schedule of a metro A line. There will also be two or three new bus stops at the airport to reduce crowds getting on or off.

“More connections and accelerated departures are some of the solutions that can increase capacity. But it is only for the period before the rail link is built. Without this, long-term capacity cannot be dealt with, "Letiště Praha spokeswoman Marika Janoušková said, according to media reports.

Letiště Praha, the company that runs Václav Havel Airport, reported a record 15 million passenger in 2017 and hopes to increase the number further. About 40 percent of people going to or from the airport use public transportation.

There should also be more ticket vending machines at the airport so tourists do not have to wait in lines to buy tickets at the bus driver’s window.

Currently, four buses go to the airport: bus line 100 from Zličín metro stop, line 191 from the Na Knížecí in Smíchov, line 119 from Nádraží Veleslavín and the AE Express Line from main railway station Hlavní nádraží. The busiest of these is 119, which will, in particular, be increased in the summer schedule.

In the long term, the construction of a railway line leading from Masarykovo nádraží to Kladno is planned, with a branch leading to the airport. Estimated costs are around Kč 23 billion. Construction could begin in 2021. The plan was first proposed in 1996 but has stalled multiple times.

A new estimate for a proposed plan to extend metro A from Nemocnice Motol, the current terminal stop, to the airport shows that it would cost Kč 26.8 billion and take up to 11 years to build, counting on 6.5 years to plan and get permits and 4.5 years for actual construction. The extension would have five stops. The station at the airport would be at a depth of 21 meters. The trip from Můstek to the airport should take about 25 minutes.

A metro extension from Nádraží Veleslavin and from Dejvice have also been discussed.

The Nádraží Veleslavin stop became an international joke when it opened because it did not have escalators for passengers with luggage. When the station was planned, the decision to move the airport bus to that stop had not been made yet. Porters had to be hired to carry luggage up the steps from the vestibule to the street. Work on building the escalators finally began at the end of 2017 and they should be in operation in April.

This year, the Prague bus service celebrates 110 years of operation. It began March 7, 1908, with a route from Malostranské náměstí to Pohořelec, as Nerudova street was too steep for trams.

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