The Czech passenger rail market is one that appears on the verge of great upheaval even though competition is still very much the exception rather than the rule. Better known as a coach company on its home market in Britain, National Express, has just set up a Czech subsidiary and sees itself as one of several rail operators that could eventually be competing for big city and small town passenger services.
Officers arrested a man who hit a pedestrian and two cars while attempting to evade a police check in Prague on Tuesday. The 24-year-old, who is believed to have been under the influence of drugs, has previously been banned from driving three times. After first escaping from the police he was detained later in the day on the capital’s Sokolovská St. His car had a handwritten number plate in the front.
UK firm National Express has established a branch in the Czech Republic with a view to entering the country’s transport market, iDnes.cz reported. A spokesperson for National Express, Europe’s second biggest private transport company, told the news website that in the Czech Republic it was at present only interested in trains. The head of its Czech office, Jan Paroubek, was previously involved in the privately owned rail companies RegioJet and Leo Express.
A total of 24 people died in accidents at rail crossings in the Czech Republic in 2013, which is the lowest figure in the past 11 years, Rail Safety Inspection spokesman Martin Drapal told the CTK news agency. Despite the improvement the death toll at rail crossings remains extremely high. In recent years Czech Railways has been working to modernize rail crossings many of which still lack mechanical barriers.
Long queues have been forming at local registry offices for motor vehicles as drivers scramble to exchange old licenses for new ones. The deadline for the exchange of licences issued between 2001 and 2004 expires on the last day of 2013, after which drivers will have to pay for a new license and may get fined by the police in the event of a check-up. Many local registry offices have extended working hours over the past week in order to facilitate the process.
Car accidents in the Czech Republic claimed 581 lives this year, according to preliminary police statistics released on Tuesday. This is the lowest annual death toll on Czech roads since the police began tracking these numbers in 1961. The figure is also a marked improvement from the previous record low last year, when 681 people died in car accidents. The number of victims of car accidents has been steadily decreasing in the Czech Republic since 2007, when there were 1,123 victims.
A motorist who crashed on Saturday pursued by the police, is in serious condition in hospital and has not yet been charged. In the incident, the 32-year-old sped away from a gas station in Plzeň without paying but hit another vehicle at high speed with the police in close pursuit. The fellow passenger in his car, a 24-year-old female, was killed in the crash.
One person was killed and two were seriously injured in a car crash in the area of Tachov on Sunday. The fatal accident unravelled shortly after 10 am. The 63-year-old driver who lost his life had been trying to pass when he collided head-on with another vehicle. A man and woman in the other car were transported to a hospital in Plzeň.
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