Prague and Central Bohemia merging transit systems

Trains and buses will be integrated by the end of 2019 to make commuting easier

Prague and the Central Bohemia region are coming closer to having a single mass transit system.

Rail transport across Central Bohemia should have a unified system with Prague starting this December. For buses, the situation is more complicated, carriers have to refurbish their systems and increase their capacity and number of drivers.

“We firmly hope that we will complete the integration by the end of next year,” Pavel Procházka, director of Integrated Transport of the Central Bohemian Region (IDSK), said according to media reports.

The merger of bus transport, which makes it easier to travel on a single ticket, continues this year in Nymburk and Kolín, and the areas of Lysá nad Labem and Mladá Boleslav will be linked.

It should also continue in the direction of Zásmuky and Uhlířské Janovice, including a connection with Sázava. The connection between Prague and Beroun, Hořovice, Zdice and via Hořovice to Příbram should also be resolved.

A large unification of rail transport began last year in Roudnice nad Labem, continued in Nymburk and Benešov, and this year the ring around Prague was completed thanks to the connection of Beroun, Příbram and Rakovník.

Railway traffic could be integrated at the border of Central Bohemia from July 1, and with the December changes in timetables, the whole process should move across the region into Tabor, Turnov, and Rokycany.

Procházka said that the connection of larger areas in a unified system started under the pilot project in 2015 at Mělník and Neratovice. “It turned out that it was the right idea, the number of passengers grew by about 30 percent against the original figures, so we have rebounded,” he said.

The process of merging public transport began in the early 1990s when the original ČSAD disintegrated.

In 1993, the capital established ROPID, responsible for organizing cross-border cooperation with the Central Bohemia region and organizing timetables. ROPID is an acronym for the regional organizer of Prague's integrated transportation (Pražská integrovaná doprava, PID)

Since around 2000, the system has been relatively well developed in the Prague-East and Prague-West districts. But according to Procházka integration stopped in 2010 and 2011. By the end of 2013, expert teams of both regions met and began to develop a unified system.

Prague and the Central Bohemia region both hope to reduce commuter traffic by making public transportation including regional trains easier to use.

The city is also making it easier to buy the Lítačka card and validate coupons on it, so people from the suburbs and Central Bohemia region will not have to come to the city center to start using the card. Other types of contactless cards such as some credit cards or ID cards will also soon be able to carry the coupons.

The city is also exploring extending several tram lines beyond the city limits to villages that have a lot of commuters.

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