Noise rules may stop night trams

Buses may replace some night tram routes next year

The number of night trams might need to be reduced due to new noise limits that will apply between 10 pm and 6 am. Several tram lines do not meet the new standards, according to Prague Public Transport (DPP) technical director Jan Šurovský and Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD). Some routes may be replaced by buses if no agreement is reached by April 1.

One problem, for example, is Bělehradská Street, which was recently renovated. The tram lines on the street would have to be completely canceled if the city complies with the new limits. The restrictions would also limit the number of night trams at the central change point at Lazarská.

The problem according to Šurovský is the interpretation of the law by public health officials, who are holding trams to a higher standard than buses. The public health officials are treating trams like trains, and applying the noise standard for train crossings to trams. But replacing trams with buses is worse for air quality and the environment, Šurovský told the media.

Public health officials also find problems with tram depots, which they categorize as stationary noise sources. Šurovský said the depots do not make a constant noise, though. He gave an example of the depot in Vokovice in Prague 6, saying it was impossible to measure how much noise the depot made due to all the automobile noise from Evropská Street. Building a noise barrier would actually increase the noise level as it would reflect the traffic noise back at the public, he said, adding that the situation was absurd.

The DPP wants to meet with the public health officials in January to clarify the situation.

In 2016, Prague invested some Kč 3 billion in transport infrastructure, including rebuilding several streets and making new expressway ramps. Some Kč 50 million went to cycling projects. Hundreds of millions went to maintenance. Investment in 2017 in transport infrastructure is projected to be lower, at Kč 2 billion.

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