Prague plans more bus lanes

Several major streets could see bus-only lanes in an effort to boost public transportation

Key Prague roads like Jižní spojka (Southern Junction) and Evropska Street could see dedicated bus lanes and other measures to help promote public transportation. Funds for the project could come from the European Union.

Prague authorities and public transportation operator Ropid both want to focus on improving traffic flow for the benefit of public transportation, and bus lanes are an important tool to accomplish this goal.

Ropid spokesman Filip Drápal said that Ropid is trying to identify the most important locations. One he mentioned was the link from the Želivského metro station through Vršovice and over Bohdalec. Improving access to the Bohdalecká stop would help several important bus routes.

Work on a bus lane already started in the middle of September on Strakonická Street from Lahovice to Velká Chuchle, and this should be expanded next year. The expansion will occur at Jižní spojka, where bus lanes occur only in short intervals. Currently, the bus lanes are only at intersections and other crucial points. The plan is to make it continuous. This would especially help the bus connection between Jižní Město and Smíchov.

Other priority locations are Evropska Street and Jugoslávských partyzánů, and there are other proposals.

The measures are based on a project conducted by a part of the Transportation Faculty at the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT). Other steps to boost efficiency of public transportation include giving buses priority at stoplights at intersections and other changes to the design of the lanes.

The funds for the changes should come from the European Union, and the city is in the process of applying. The application process is sometimes the biggest delay in such projects, Ropid's Drápal said. There is also a question of how much public opposition will occur. Traffic experts warn that the plans have to take into account that making bus lanes also means that car lanes can become more crowded, which can cause traffic jams and in turn increase pollution.

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