Night trams and buses to get new numbers

Integration of regional routes and new technology are causing the changes

Prague night trams and buses will be dressed to the nines. Or, at least the numbering is going to be changed to start with nine. Currently the night service vehicles start with five, in the 50s for trams and 500s for buses.

The reason for the change is that transportation lines in the Central Bohemia region are going to be integrated into the same numbering system that Prague uses, as the systems are planning closer cooperation. The numbers in the 500s will be needed for regular daytime buses in the regional area. Trams will follow suit for the sake of consistency.

The renumbering project should start in May and should make its public appearance in July. Some 3,000 vehicles in Prague's fleet are currently unable to have four-digit or letter designations. This makes it difficult to give night transportation lines the letter N, for example, or to set them all with numbers in the 5000s.

But not everyone is pleased with the pragmatic change. City Councilor Ondřej Mirovský (Trojkoalice/SZ) told the media that tourists are used to the trams numbered in the 50s for night routes, and that information is widely available in guidebooks and on tourist websites. Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (ČSSD), responsible for transportation issues, also was not convinced on the issue.

Night trams have had numbers in the 50s for some 30 years, and it is a part of history but sometimes history moves on, transport organizer Ropid director Petr Tomčík said. The numbers in the 50 to 69 range would be used for new technology such as electric buses and hybrid trolleybuses, he added. In the past, those numbers were used by trolleys, he said.

Under the new system, daytime trams would be 1 to 26. The historical tram that is currently number 91 would become 41. Electric buses and hybrid trolleybuses, as stated, would be 50 to 69. City buses would be 101 to 250, city school buses would be 271 to 299. Regional buses would be 301 to 799, special lines and service routes would be 801 to 899. City and regional night buses would be 900 to 999.

Prague currently has nine night trams and 15 night buses. Prague has 142.4 km of tram tracks with 931 trams and over 20 daytime routes. Prague's first horsecar tram line opened in 1875, and the first electric tram was in 1891.

Separately, the city is facing a legal issue over the noise created by night trams and may replace some of the lines with buses, but the city disagrees with the interpretation of the noise law and is seeking to keep the night trams in operation.

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