Student transit discount plan fails

The Prague City Council rejected an idea for Kč 365 annual passes

The idea to give Prague students under 26 and annual transit pass for Kč 365, or Kč per day, was rejected by the City Council.

The proposal of was made by Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD), who said it would help reduce the number of young people riding without tickets and also ease the financial burden on students.

The proposal was rejected by ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL).

City Councilor Jan Wolf, head of the KDU-ČSL in City Hall, said the proposal was not responsible to the city's finances. The KDU-ČSL is part of the Three-party Coalition, along with the Greens and STAN. The city is currently governed by ANO, the Social Democrats (ČSSD) and the Three-party Coalition.

ANO originally wanted to support Dolínek's idea, but Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) said the plan had not been sufficiently prepared. “I support discussion about this option, but I want to decide on the basis of analysis, hard figures and data. The form chosen by Deputy Mayor Dolínek rather looks like he wants to make a pre-election campaign with municipal money,” Krnáčová said.

Dolínek said a cheap annual coupon would simplify the system, as it would replace the existing monthly, quarterly, five and ten-month coupons. “First and foremost, we wanted to motivate students to learn how to use public transport and not break the rules. I will not complain, and I will try to propose it again,” Dolínek said.

Currently, people under the age of 18 and students under 26 can get a pass for Kč 260 per month. There are also quarterly, five-month or 10-month tickets, the latter costs Kč 2,400. All-year student fares are not available at this time.

Critics have claimed the price cut could cause a budget shortfall of up to Kč 350 million.

When the proposal was announced, the opposition TOP 09 representatives called it a populist move as the city is having elections in October. The Pirates also previously announced opposition to it, saying the planned Kč 350 million cost of the discount could be better spent on teachers' salaries or infrastructure.

The proposal would have taken effect Sept. 1 if it had passed.

Cutting transit pass rates was used in the past as a campaign promise. Following the October 2014 municipal elections, the city cut the rates for annual passes for adults in 2015 to Kč 10 per day or Kč 3,650 per year from Kč 4,750, and it led to more people buying passes.

The city has a long-term goal to reduce car traffic and to reduce people riding without paying.

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