Prague plans more bus lanes

New lanes should make buses faster in congested areas

Slow bus rides should be taking a back seat in April when the city plans to increase the number of bus lanes in problem areas. This will on the other hand reduce the number of lanes for cars. The changes should affect six roads.

City Councilor Matěj Stropnický (SZ), who is chairman of the transportation committee, told the media that since buses transport many more people than a single passenger car it makes sense to give buses preferential treatment. The lanes will improve the accessibility and speed of public transit, he added.

Public transit organizer ROPID said that the lanes will be designated for not only buses, but also for taxis, police, firefighters, ambulances and cyclists. One of the lanes began to work in a test mode on the southern part of Průmyslová street to Černokostelecká street in Prague 15. Other streets will include Chlumecká in Černý Most in the direction of Horní Počernice, Úvalska in Prague 10 and U Plynárny at Bohdalec.

Traffic has worsened around Vítězné náměstí since the opening of the Blanka tunnel in September 2015. A solution to improve bus traffic on Svatovítská street will start already in January, with buses having a preferential lane to the square. A similar temporary solution was already in effect during the renovation of nearby Korunovační street.

On Evropská street, a new lane will go from the stop at Divoká Šárka to Nad Džbánem and connect with an existing bus lane that goes to Nádraží Veleslavín, which is where the metro connects to buses to Václav Havel Airport Prague.

These last two streets are both in Prague 6. District spokesman Martin Churavý said the district in general agrees with the plan for Svatovítská street, but is taking a wait-and-see attitude on Evropská street. If the plan does not have a significant effect, the district will seek to reverse the decision.

Not everyone favors the plan. Petr Vomáčka of auto association ÚAMK told daily Mladá fronta Dnes that the lanes would cause more traffic jams and not reduce them, and that drivers will simply ignore the restrictions. He added that police are not seen enforcing the law when cars block the lanes, so their effect is minimal. Police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulová rejected the criticism and told the daily that the laws were routinely enforced.

Prague has more than 38 km of lanes reserved for buses. Buses also have a preference at some intersections where traffic lights are automatically switched so that buses can cross the intersection with priority.

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