Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka wants a working group set up to discuss plans for high speed rail links, the CTK news agency reported on Monday, following the prime minister’s meeting with the head of the Rail Infrastructure Administration, Pavel Surý. The working group should be made up of experts on transport, local development and the environment. Possible high-speed routes have been identified as between Prague and Brno and Prague to Dresden, Germany, where they might be extended to Berlin and Hamburg. Sobotka will discuss the latter possibilities with the minister president of the Saxony region, Stanislaw Tillich, when he visits Prague on Tuesday. Sobotka and Surý also discussed a rail link between Prague’s Václav Havel airport and the centre of the city.
Laser attacks on aircraft pilots or crew occurred 35 times last year in the Czech Republic, half of the attacks occurred at the capital’s main airport, Václav Havel. The total is the highest since 2013. The attacks on aircraft or helicopters, using powerful lasers which can blind pilots temporarily, are regarded as a serious safety hazard and can be punished with prison. One Czech pilot of emergency rescue helicopters told Czech Radio he had experienced attacks three times and was able to recover full vision after about 30 seconds. Laser attacks started in the Czech Republic in 2009 and peaked a year later with 55 attacks in 2010.
The transport authority in Ostrava, one of the most polluted cities in the Czech Republic, is taking steps to reduce its share of the burden. Within the next three years it plans to modernize its bus fleet, gradually putting diesel-powered busses, which are among the worst traffic polluters, out of operation.
Private train and bus operator Leo Express saw its number of passengers rise by close to a third in 2016, CEO Peter Köhler confirmed; however, according to preliminary results the company still remained in the red due to vehicle write-offs, interest payments and further investment and company development.
Icy roads have been causing severe traffic problems around the country. The D8 highway to Germany was closed for five hours in both directions on Thursday following a pile-up. A heightened number of accidents are reported from all parts of the country with maintenance crews out in force even in the Czech capital where buses along five routes temporarily ground to a halt around midday. All of the city’s ambulances were in the field with emergency calls from 21 pedestrians who had taken a bad fall within the space of an hour.
Slovakia has joined the Czech Republic and Poland is preparations for whether a massive transport project linking the Danube, Oder, and Elbe rivers and making them navigable would be economically attractive and feasible. The so-called DOL project has strong support from Czech president Miloš Zeman but is opposed by environment groups which say it will be an ecological disaster. Slovakia was previously an observer on a working group dealing with preparations but will now take part fully after signing a memorandum at a meeting of transport ministers in Warsaw on Tuesday. No final decision on whether to proceed with the project has yet been taken.
Fresh snowfalls have complicated road transport in many parts of the Czech Republic. Officials in the Zlín Region in southern Moravia and the Central Bohemian Region have reported problems, with some sections of road barely passable. Snow showers have reduced visibility in some areas, road maintenance workers say. Trains are running with delays of up to 40 minutes in Kolín, Central Bohemia, which is an important rail hub.
The country main spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office, has criticised how repairs were carried out in the Czech Republic key road artery between Prague and second city, Brno, the D1 motorway. The report said that the Motorways and Highways Authority responsible for preparing the project failed to look properly at the different repair scenarios available and insufficient preparation before work started meant that the final work was delayed by at least two years. The price for repairs to similar sections of the motorway varied by up to a third, the watchdog added. The state agency said that construction firms had been willing to drop their prices during the recession when the repairs started. Repairs should have been completed by 2018 but not look as though they will continue to 2020.
I’m walking along the bicycle and pedestrian path on the right bank of the Vltava river that leads north out of Prague. About two kilometres past Prague Zoo, and it pretty much already feels like I’m out of the capital city completely. To the right in the distance, you can just about see the apartments of the Bohnice district up in the hills. But as far out as it seems you are, in fact the Prague municipal transport system (MHD) has something on offer here, too. Not a tram, or a Metro, or a bus – but rather a ferry service.
Czech Air Traffic Control reported the highest ever number of flights over the Czech Republic in 2016, the news site info.cz has reported. Czech airspace was used by nearly 837,000 airplanes, which was an increase of 6.95 percent on the previous year. June was the busiest month, with nearly 88,000 recorded flights. The biggest customer using Czech airspace was German air carrier Lufthansa, followed by Emirates and Turkish Airlines. Czech airspace has grown increasingly crowded in recent years, with the number of flights doubling since 2002.