Urban public transport cost Prague 21 billion last year, of which 17 billion was subsidized by the capital. How will the pandemic and the lack of tourists affect this funding? Is the financing of Prague’s public transport worth foreign visitors?
Prague’s public transport is certainly not up to tourists in the sense that it would be financed by some more than half. However, their contribution is so significant that if they disappear, the need for a subsidy will of course increase.
You wrote on the iDNES.cz blogthat two years ago was an annual fare of one hundred and fifty crown more expensive than today. How did we come up with such a disparity?
The strategy of political representation in recent years has been clear in the sense that it will not become more expensive for Praguers. So far, Prague has had a very good income, so it could afford it. The decision whether or not to continue this strategy is now again on the shoulders of the elected representatives. Neither Ropid nor a transport company can make fares more expensive or cheaper.
The proposal for a new ticket price is high, but in Bratislava it costs the cheapest in terms of seven thousand. In the analysis of Ropid for the capital, the price of eight thousand crowns was even mentioned. So how much would be the ideal amount so that the city’s subsidies do not have to be so high?
In 2000, the price of an annual ticket was 3,800 crowns – today it costs 3,650. If we only take into account inflation, the price of an annual ticket would now be around 6,100 crowns. If we include a smaller number of connections and kilometers traveled, the amount would exceed the eight thousand.
Rather, we calculated that if passengers were to cover all the costs of public transport, the annual ticket should cost up to 18 thousand crowns, which other tickets had to increase in a similar proportion. If transport were to cover only annual coupons, of which there are now 1.5 billion, the price would be close to forty thousand. This is, of course, an absurd amount, which above all shows how to reduce the revenue from annual coupons now.
We want to increase the price of a public transport coupon by 365 crowns a year, said councilor Adam Scheinherr in Rozstřel
You can imagine that people would now make such an amount for a ticket daif?
If we are talking about the discussed part at the level of 5,500 crowns a year, it is the biggest problem in this photo to jump in price. For example, Czech Railways adds two crowns per kilometer every year, and in fact no one notices much. We “fixed” ourselves in the year 2000. Then prices rose slightly, but the growth stopped in 2010 and then in 2015 there was a return again accompanied by an increase in the discount for some groups. If something does not become a little more expensive for twenty years, then any more fundamental change is painful for everyone who buys a ticket.
So will only annual or other tickets become more expensive?
It is complicated. So far, there is no basic consensus among the political representation on whether it will rise in price at all. And if that happens, of course, the price of an annual ticket, which is basic, must match the shorter tickets.
A compromise would not be possible, What example works in Brno, where passengers pay an annual ticket but pay monthly fees?
In fact, we have already presented the matter to the city in exactly the same way. Our consideration was that we would try to completely abandon the philosophy of annual, half-yearly and quarterly tickets, and which we would focus only on the monthly one. There has long been talk in Prague about the possibility of buying an annual ticket in installments, but for that the transport company would need to have a banking license. We came up with a concept that may be similar to Brno, or for example Internet services such as Netflix.
How would it work?
Passengers would pay only 500 crowns a month. Which is fifty crowns less than the current price of the monthly fare. However, twelve times five hundred is six thousand, which would be an increase of one year. Passengers would have the opportunity, for example, if they went on a longer holiday in the summer, to draw for one month, so they could relieve five hundred. And if they paid for a full 12 months each month, the system would return one to two monthly payments to their loyalty account. It would be free for two months, so the annual ticket would cost five thousand. It should be added, however, that even this is only a principled proposal, one of many. (The proposal was published after the interview by Adam Scheinherr, Deputy Minister for Transport from Prague, according to him, the price could be even lower, you read here.)
I will move people in cars are not afraid in the event of a jump in price?
Sensitive price increases would not lead to an outflow of passengers. I think that most people who want to travel by public transport and are not explicitly opposed to it, we already have. Unfortunately, if individual traffic increased, it would lead to other convoys in the streets. There is no longer any room in the communication network for the essential preservation of cars. The higher fare may not affect the number of passengers in public transport. The argument can be the number of passengers in buses and trains on the way to Prague. It is enough to pay over nine thousand crowns a year for four PID bands (equivalent to the territory of Prague), the number of transported persons is growing the fastest in the country. On trains alone by 40 percent over the last five years.
How much was collected on the fare last year? Will a loss of income due to a pandemic be major?
1.5 million crowns must be reached from the annual coupons. Last year’s revenues in 2019 were about 4.3 billion crowns, and now that they are not tourists, an estimated 1.7 billion crowns have fallen. Above all, everyone who rides on individual fares, not just tourists, has decreased. We expect that the original numbers of passengers will be used by public transport again in two to three years at the earliest, so the decrease in sales will not only affect this year.
It’s one thing to make money, but it’s another to save money. Are they stealing any savings scenarios?
We do not yet have an assignment that we should implement some fundamental restrictions. However, in connection with the current situation, for example, line 119 to the airport is already limited and the nostalgic tram line number 23 does not run. However, based on the recommendations of the WHO and carriers around the world, permanent public transport offers more capacity than would correspond to current demand, so that people do not drive crowded. When 85 percent of passengers did not travel in March, connections were reduced by only about thirty percent. There is a lot of discussion about possible limitations of minibus lines, but city districts are mostly added value for their citizens and therefore do not like to interfere in their operation.
How fast can you not return to pandemic timetables? They are often ordered from day to day.
When the situation first came, it was necessary to quickly move quickly from full timetables to half-holiday and finally holiday. If there is a similar lightning requirement, we can do it within a week, however, it takes three weeks to two months for the responsible preparation of some similar operations, depending on the extent of the required adjustments. Therefore, predict future developments and, with regard to the exclusion schedule, implement the necessary changes together in time.
We want to increase the price of public transport coupons by 365 crowns a year, explained the Prague councilor: