Prague plans charging stations instead of taxi stands

The city says that taxi stands are not as important anymore due to phone apps

Prague City Hall is discussing a plan to close some taxi stands and convert them to charging stations for shared electric vehicles. The locations are being selected from an analysis by city-run IT firm Operátor ICT, though a final decision has not been made.

The importance of taxi stands is diminishing due to the development of mobile applications.

The city wants to announce two contracts to create an urban support system for shared electric vehicles. The first tender, worth about Kč 50 million, is for bases for charging stations. The second contract would be for maintaining and operating the stations.

Once a decision on the locations is made, the Technical Roadways Administration (TSK) will terminate the contracts with the tenants of the selected stands and prepare them for building recharging stations.

The taxi stands were created to have a place with guaranteed prices, as part of the effort to battle problems with taxi drivers overcharging. These stands have a yellow Fair Place sign, with a table of fares for distances.

Still, taxi overcharging has remained a problem in Prague. Many people have turned to ridesharing application-based services instead, as these reduce the issues with overcharging by automatically calculating fares based on distance.

The taxi stands, though, would be converted to stands for carsharing, which is different than ridesharing.

Carsharing allows more than one driver to use the same car. People essentially rent a car for a short trip and leave it when they are done so another driver can find the car and access it through the same app. The car does not come with a driver.

The aim of carsharing is to reduce the number of cars in the city. Electric cars also reduce the amount of pollution. In total, the city is counting on around 600 electric cars for carsharing.

A company called Re.volt has already launched electric carsharing in Prague, with minicars that can be used in Prague 1 and Prague 2. The company plans to increase the number of cars so that by 2020 they have 240 cars in Prague.

This company currently takes care of recharging the cars by remotely monitoring the battery levels and picking them up for charging, as there is a lack of recharging stations in the city center.

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