A flight attendant for fifteen thousand crowns a year? According to the square, it will have to be more expensive
Drastic cuts may be in play
For a long time, Borecký has not hidden the idea that if the public transport system is not to collapse – not only in Central Bohemia and Prague, but on a national scale – higher prices and cancellations of connections cannot be avoided. In both cases, sensitive and vigorous; it’s about finding a still tolerable measure of what people can tolerate and manage without going out into the streets or changing from public transport to cars. It is true that these are the words with which he took up the position of regional councilor at the end of 2020 – but at the time these statements could have appeared as a catastrophic vision. Such a thing is not possible! However, the current inflation, the ever-present increase in prices and the ready-made massacres surrounding energy prices testify: the times are such that everything is possible.
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Borecký predicts a dramatic increase in prices for the next five years – with the fact that it gradually started as early as this December. If this did not happen, and the regions are already lacking what is missing (after the increased investment in the renewal of railway vehicles and emission-free bus transport) the state did not supply, the reduction of the scope of public transport would be dramatic. The deputy governor outlined the possibility of a very drastic reduction. “Or can you imagine that almost half of the CityElefant connections would disappear in the Central Bohemian Region in combination with a 40 percent smaller range of connections?” he asks rhetorically.
“Cancellation of the order for a few Central Bohemian local trains will be a piece of cake,” he said, referring to last year’s and again this year’s current debate about the cancellation of passenger trains on little-used railway lines. He sees the future as the main problem, even though he admits that people are more concerned about the current plans for canceling trains: “Part of the public resonates with the reduction in Central Bohemian local trains – but outside the main pride of attention, two problems are smoldering, which, if not solved, will have a public impact traffic fatal impact. The first is the state of the technical infrastructure – and the second is the financing itself.”
Passengers should share more in the costs
In connection with money – from a cross-regional point of view – Borecký recalled the increase in the cost of public transport (among other things also in connection with its modernization and integration), which, however, does not correspond to the increase in sales. “During the general growth of the economy, it was not so obvious, but the covid crisis and this year’s energy crisis have fully exposed the problem,” stated the deputy governor.
He argues that while a decade ago counties spent an average of 15-18 percent of their tax revenue on providing transportation services, over the past four years that average has climbed to 24 percent. At the same time, “rural” regions without significant economic centers can fit into 20 percent, while elsewhere it is much more: the Central Bohemian Region is at 32 percent, South Moravia even at 40. Prague is said to be “somewhere completely different” in terms of spending.
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“In the Central Bohemia region, expenses in 2021 attacked the 38 percent limit, but a combination of unpopular steps (increasing the price of driving by 25 percent, stopping traffic at 12 restrictions or limiting some bus lines) managed to temporarily bring the enormous growth in costs under control,” said Borecký.
Opponents can nevertheless argue for higher tax revenues. In connection with money from taxes, the deputy governor criticizes the so-called budget allocation or RUD taxes – the rules according to which the state distributes to the regions their share of tax revenues. It remains the same as it was twenty years ago, even though the population of Central Bohemia has increased by a quarter of a million since then. I have been looking for a change in the region for a long time.
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According to Borecký, as far as the revenue from fares is concerned, on average they cover 18.5 percent of the regions’ expenses on public transport. The Central Bohemian Region has the highest share: 28 percent, while Prague, on the other hand, is said to be only 15-16 percent. At the same time, the deputy governor is clear: “We can no longer pretend that we are able to provide public transport of Western European quality at Eastern European prices.” She believes that it is necessary for the regions to cover at least 50 percent of public transport costs. At the same time, they say, we will have to be willing to admit that local lines that cannot be used by trains the size of the RegioShark engine unit or the RegioPanter electric unit will need to be preserved or converted to another type of construction.
How to improve the transport infrastructure in the central part of the republic?
– Build fast connections between regional cities – now many passengers have to go through Prague, even if they don’t really want to go to the capital.
– Complete the highway bypass of Prague, the missing highways D35, D3 to Austria and D11 to Poland, which will alleviate traffic problems in individual economic centers; especially around the capital.
– Solve the problems of the Prague railway junction, which today is practically impassable for freight traffic and where, due to congestion, it is practically impossible to add suburban passenger trains on lines 171 (to Beroun) or 011 (to Kolín).
– Address the condition of the railway bridge at Vyšehrad across the Vltava River; to put an end to arguments about whether to reconstruct the riveted building or demolish it due to irreparability, before it is necessary to stop operations there completely.
– Progress, or rather start with the construction of important railway structures: a tunnel on the Prague–Beroun line, build a fast railway connection Prague–Kladno, Prague–Mladá Boleslav and completely reconstruct the corridors to Brno and Ostrava.
– Advance in technical and legislative preparation for building a high-speed railway.
Source: Petr Borecký, Deputy Governor of the Central Bohemian Region