Great ideology. Prague is split on whether to make public transport, parking or both more expensive

Transport in Prague will probably become more expensive – how much is not yet known. In the wider municipal coalition, an ideological conflict has fully erupted, with supporters of cars on one side and public transport on the other. On the one hand, the capital is thinking of making public transport fares more stable, but Zdeněk Hřib, the councilor for transport, is fighting to increase parking prices, which, in his opinion, are too cheap compared to other European cities.

The Spolu coalition led by Mayor Bohuslau Svoboda proposed raising the annual fee from the current 3,650 crowns to 7,300 crowns, more than doubling.

But the pirates resisted. “I certainly do not agree with the proposal of the coalition partners to raise the price of public transport, taking into account the people of Prague, who are in difficult living conditions for various reasons. I also understand the views of environmental experts that the increase in the price of public transport may have the effect of passengers getting back into their cars,” said the Councilor of the Prague Environment and Climate Project. Jana Komrskova announced.

He said that the next step should be to increase the parking fee. “If public transport and parking are more expensive, I believe that part of the funds should go to the climate plan, which the whole coalition did by signing the coalition statement. The debate about the specific use of this money is not yet concluded,” he says.

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Judging by social networks, Councilor Hřib took this as his priority. “This is not normally realized without a direct comparison, but a 25m² studio apartment takes up the same amount of space as a standard parking space for two cars. This is an important context for the important question of how to use limited urban space and what is the value of such space. Because during the last election period in Prague, 9,700 apartments “Although housing is allowed to be built, the unaffordability of housing is still critical. Parking at CZK 3 per day, the city does not even cover the associated costs,” argues Harib.

Hřib, for example, refers to New York, where they came up with a plan to reduce the number of parking spaces in favor of housing construction. “He rightly argues that there is no need to provide parking spaces to those who want more affordable housing. So if we talk about parking, we have to remember that objectively it actually takes up a large amount of space. This space is very valuable,” Harib said.

Meetings of town halls

In recent weeks, representatives of individual city districts in Prague have debated what to do about the situation. According to the Mayor of Prague 2, Jan Gorceski (ODS), he adopted a resolution similar to the one in the past, in which he had to address the comments of the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Zdeňko Hřib (Piráti). A rough proposal of the city's plans regarding adjustments to the system of paid parking spaces and changes in parking prices.

Municipal districts have until the end of January to comment on the proposal, and the municipality is now implementing their recommendations. The proposal for changes to the system does not yet include possible changes to parking fees, which Hřib wants to deal with separately. Gorcheska (ODS) added that another parliament will deal with the issue, perhaps in mid-June.

In this regard, opposition representative and member of parliament of ANO, Patrik Nacher, warned that one price increase will lead to another. “As I repeatedly commented in the current coalition debate of price hike parties – the increase in the price of public transport will magnetize the price of other goods (such as parking) in Prague, and it is here. . But not only in the Prague transport company, without looking for goals, visions, savings, that is not the way. “In any case, I am interested in the negotiations of the Prague Alliance, which differs fundamentally not only in this regard,” he said.

According to Komrskova, to maintain accessible public transport, it is necessary to continue the construction of the tram circuit and to purchase new electric buses to develop e-mobility -⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠ and move away from diesel engines. , the construction of new trolleybus lines for hydrogen propulsion testing and the construction of Metra T. From the point of view of the climate project, mass transport and its (further increasing) efficiency is a fundamental prerequisite for reducing the carbon footprint of transport. in the city. According to the plan, the parking rate hike is a legitimate tool to encourage the use of environmentally friendly modes of transport,” he thinks.

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A recent demonstration took place in front of the Prague City Hall against a proposed increase in public transport fares. The gathering was organized by the Prague Greens, together with members of the Movement for Social Democracy and the Future. Demonstrators carried banners with slogans such as “Lítáčka did not increase the price by 2”, “High public transport costs mushrooms Hřibe” or “My dear HMP, don't raise public transport prices, pay for SUVs”. They also chanted “We don't want more cars”.

According to the Greens, the sudden increase in the annual Lítáčka price is problematic not only from the point of view of the sudden financial impact on those who use Prague public transport on a daily basis, but also from the point of view. Deepening the gap between the support of private car transport at the cost of fixed transport. “For an ordinary family in Prague, already burdened by inflation and high rents, raising the price of basic essential services by one hundred percent would be a big problem. Don't make traveling by public transport an unattainable luxury,” said Jan Janousek, co-chair of the Prague Green Party.

The last increase in the price of individual tickets in the metropolis was in 2021, and the price of the annual coupon has not changed since 2015, when the then city administration reduced it to 3,650 kroner. DPP collected about 3.5 billion crowns in fees the previous year, and the city provided 16.2 billion crowns for the company's operation.

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