The City of Prague has taken over administration of the Opencard – the multi-purpose transit pass with more than one million registered users. Until now, administration of the system was run by eMoneyServices but an IT team at City Hall has taken over operation of the system software after City Hall and the firm failed to reach a deal on future cooperation.
City Hall has announced planned changes to Prague’s parking system: until now, so-called blue zones were reserved for local residents and businesses but a new phone app will make it possible for motorists to pay and park in blue-marked spaces for up to two hours. The planned change is primarily to make life easier for entrepreneurs who have found it exceedingly difficult to park in areas during the day. In addition, parking spots will also be labelled in orange and purple: purple will be for residents or for non-residents who pay via parking meter. The system should be broadened to districts that did not use blue zones until now. The proposal will still have to be passed by city councilors.
A contract between the city of Prague and eMoneyServices over the use of the transit and other purpose Opencard runs out after Monday. Prague was unable to reach an agreement with the firm on further cooperation and the city plans to take up administration of the card on its own for the time being. Card holders, of which there are a reported 1.2 million, have been promised they will not register any differences. eMOneyServices has said that while Prague can operate the system, it does not hold the rights to the software and will therefore not be able to fix bugs which come up or reprogram parts of the package.
The country’s state-owned rail operator Czech Railways introduces slight changes to its timetable on Sunday. The only major alteration concerns the Ostravan express between Prague and Bohumín via Ostrava which now terminates in Olomouc and runs under the name Moravan. Other, minor changes only apply to regional and local connections, a Czech Railways spokeswoman said. The operator will also launch new Austrian-made Railjet trains on the Prague-Vienna route.
A growing number of visitors to Prague are using the Segways two-wheelers to get around the city’s historic centre. But their increased presence in pedestrian areas has long been annoying local inhabitants concerned about risks of accidents on the busy sidewalks. Local authorities in central Prague have been calling for legislation that would push Segways onto the roads. However, the Czech Transport Ministry is instead considering officially classifying Segways as pedestrians. I discussed the issue with the ministry’s spokesman Tomáš Neřold.
Ten people were injured on Wednesday in a bus crash shortly before noon in the area of Nový Jičín. A police spokesman confirmed that not far from a local recreation site the bus went off the road and flipped over. One of the injured was trapped inside and had to be freed by an emergency crew. A helicopter was also sent to the scene.
The D1 highway between Prague and Brno had to be closed to traffic in both directions for close to an hour shortly after midnight on Saturday due to a runaway horse. The horse reportedly bolted from a stationary van. The van was transporting two horses and because one of the animals had become increasingly nervous the accompanying vet opened the door to apply a tranquilizer. In the meantime the other horse got away.
Prague’s multi-purpose Opencard scheme which was to provide users with an efficient means of paying for public transport, parking, and serve as a library card has been dogged by problems from the outset. Now it threatens to turn into a nightmare for over one million users. The card’s days are numbered and Prague City Hall has failed to secure continued licencing until a new system is up and running.
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