Prague sets new rules for buses

All new buses in Prague and the nearby region should meet the same standards

Air conditioning, low floors, space for baby carriages, comfortable seats, modern information systems, and a uniform look are some of the new requirements for newly purchased buses to be used by the Prague Integrated Transport (PID) system. WiFi, however, is not on the list of requirements.

The City Council recently approved rules that will apply to all carriers in the PID system. The approved document will be binding on all carriers involved in the PID system at the latest from the beginning of 2020.

“The long-term goal of the city of Prague is the continuous improvement of the quality of public transport, which is represented in Prague and the adjacent parts of the Central Bohemian Region by the Prague Integrated Transport system,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD), responsible for transportation, said in a press release.

“A total of 19 bus carriers are currently involved in this system from the largest transport company in the Czech Republic, the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) with more than 1,000 buses, to medium-size private carriers to small carriers with just several buses,” he added.

These carriers operate a total of 153 urban and 223 suburban or regional lines. With uniform quality standards, passengers should not know the difference between the carriers since all lines will offer a uniform minimum level of quality, according to City Hall and PID.

Prague has been working to improve transit coordination with the Central Bohemia region, and for example, has already unified the bus and tram numbering systems in anticipation of creating a unified system.

“These standards will be the basis for the newly emerging joint transit system for Prague and the entire Central Bohemian region,” Dolínek said.

Compared to the existing standards that have been in place since 2009, the new requirements are more stringent and are consistent with current passenger requirements and modern technological trends.

“All newly purchased buses will have to be at least partly low-floor, equipped with full air conditioning, a modern information and ticketing system to show all the necessary information in real time, and allow people buy a ticket for cash or with a credit card,” Petr Tomčík, director of ROPID, the regional organizer of PID, said.

Priority will also be given to the arrangement of the bus interior, with as many seats as possible on the suburban lines and ample room for strollers or wheelchairs on urban lines.

“New buses will also be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to track vehicle movement in real time, to give preference to buses at traffic lights or to check the current occupancy of the vehicle,” Tomčík said.

Individual buses will be monitored more closely, so there should be fewer operating problems and they should be cleaner. Tomčík also promises a friendlier operating staff.

Buses should not be more than 15 years old, and the average fleet age should not exceed nine years. Carriers should only renew their fleets with new buses, and not used ones.

Preparing the new standards was preceded by consultations with the public and special groups of passengers as well as with carriers and bus manufacturers. ROPID also looked to the experiences of other cities both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

New standards for rail, tram, metro and ferries are also being prepared, with an eye toward improving quality and reliability so people will use public transit instead of other methods, the city said in a press release.

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