The newly appointed Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová has said that the city council will be dealing with hot issues such as Opencard or waste collection at its meeting next week. In an interview for the business daily Hospodářské noviny, Mrs Krnáčová said the city council would present a solution for Pragues’s transport pass known as Opencard by Christmas. Prague City Hall has been locked in a drawn-out dispute with eMoney Services and took over the running of the card after the contract for its operation expired. However it lacks the right to change or re-programme the existing software.
Czech Railways has paid off a massive loan for seven high-speed Pendolino trains it ordered back in 1996. The firm sent a final instalment of more than 110 million euros to a consortium of banks headed by ČSOB on Tuesday. The news was confirmed by Czech Railways’ spokesman Petr Stáhlavský. The Pendolino project is broadly-considered one of the least successful investments by Czech Railways: a single seat on the trains cost the company 1.9 million crowns, compared to Railjet, which cost roughly half, the Czech News Agency reported.
The annual fee for city transport in Prague should be cut by 1,000 crowns according to a coalition agreement signed between the ANO party, the Social Democrats and a three-way grouping of Greens, Christian Democrats and independents, the weekly Týden says in its Monday edition. The coalition agreement has not yet been released, but according to Týden the cost-cut was initiated by the Greens as a means of attracting more passengers and reducing car traffic in Prague. A cut in the price of city transport in Vienna allegedly attracted an additional 100,000 passengers. It is not yet clear as of when the cost cut may be affected.
A Czech motorist was lucky to escape with her life on Sunday at a railway crossing in the Kolín area. Witnesses said the driver, at the wheel of a small car, showed impatience and drove ahead a line of waiting cars just as barriers on the tracks were coming down. An express train caught, and demolished, the back of her car. She escaped unhurt. The incident is under investigation.
November saw the release of an annual government-commissioned report on the state of the environment in the Czech Republic. While the gist of the report maintained that a number of factors continued to improve, including water quality and canalisation, air quality was found to be a major problem. It found that in 2013, 55 percent of Czechs were still being exposed to above-average levels of the toxic chemical benzopyrene. Additionally, many cities suffer from smog and ground level ozone, while heating plants were found to account for 41 percent
President Miloš Zeman will appoint Dan Ťok transport minister on December 4. Mr Ťok, who has served as CEO of Skanska, one the country’s biggest construction firms, confirmed the news after an hour-long meeting with the president on Tuesday. Dan Ťok was nominated by the ANO party to replace Antonín Prachař who resigned last week. His nomination has already been approved by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.
A decision is looming on the selection of an operator for a controversial truck toll system which has already come under heavy fire for excessive costs and disappointing returns to the state coffers. The decision will be under the spotlight as the next transport minister tries to grapple with an apparently dysfunctional roads and highways directorate.
The opening of Prague’s newly completed tunnel Blanka originally scheduled for December 2nd will have to be postponed due to a slide in the schedule of the final technology tests, according to Prague mayor designate Adriana Krnáčová. Ms. Krnáčová, who is due to take over the city’s administration in the coming weeks, told Radio Impuls that March now appeared to be a realistic date for the tunnel’s opening. The series of final technology tests started last Friday and according to the contract signed are to last for a period of 55 days. The outgoing city council has urged the firm undertaking them to speed up the procedure but the company says this would be a safety hazard.
Antonín Prachař of ANO has resigned as minister of transport, the party’s leader Andrej Babiš announced on Wednesday morning. The move comes in the wake of extensive criticism, including from within ANO, over Mr. Prachař’s handling of both personnel matters and road-building projects. He is set to be replaced by the head of a major construction firm.
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