Traffic police around the country will increase controls on Czech roads ahead of the upcoming summer holidays in an effort to lower traffic accidents. The month of June registered a markedly higher number of fatalities on Czech roads than last year: 54 people lost their lives in accidents – 27 more than during the same period last year. The first three summer holiday weekends will see the police concentrate on major roads and highways. Between July 21 and 27 they will also focus on tourist busses.
Drivers can be almost guaranteed a bumpy ride and delays on the country’s busiest stretch of motorway between Prague and Brno. Much of motorway is already in a poor state and modernization work on a few selected stretches have caused long queues. Now a debate has reopened over whether the Road and Motorway Agency is going about the reconstruction in the right way.
Two cyclists – a 41-year-old woman and a 71-year-old man – were struck on Sunday by a driver in the area of Domažlice. The motorist, in a white Octavia, had consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, police confirmed. The older cyclist was killed instantly, the female died during transport to hospital. Neither of the two were wearing protective helmets, according to reports. The accident took place on a section of road where two women died three years ago. Sixteen cyclists have died on Czech roads so far this year, an increase from 2013; around half of cycling accidents are reportedly caused by motorists.
A traffic accident on Friday afternoon saw marked delays on the D1 highway from Prague in the direction of Brno. The crash, involving two vehicles, was not serious but took place in an area undergoing reconstruction not far from the capital. Movement along the highway slowed to a crawl, with cars becoming backed up six kilometers. Traffic jams on the D1 have become a regular occurrence since an extensive and long-planned renovation of parts of the highway began. Motorists, especially on peak days, are advised to monitor the situation either over the internet or the airwaves, to try and avoid long delays.
Two people had to be treated in Prague hospitals for suspected spinal injuries following a helicopter crash-landing on Friday morning. The two-person aircraft came down shortly before 9 AM in a field near the R-10 highway outside the capital. There was no fire, nor any evidence of a gas leak; the two aboard had to be freed by a rescue crew. According to information available, the small helicopter was owned by a private company and had been headed to an airshow in Hradec Králové.
Czech Airlines plunged to a loss of just over 920 million crowns last year on turnover of 13.3 billion crowns. That’s the worst full year result for the airline since 2009. Sales of assets had in previous years help to cushion the impact of operating losses from the core airline business. The airline is currently facing a downturn in demand on flights to Ukraine and other parts of the former Soviet Union. Korean Airlines has a 44 percent stake in Czech Airlines with domestic carrier Travel Service waiting to be cleared to take a 34 percent stake.
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.
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