Prague’s last metro proposal wins plaudits on the ground

21-04-2010

Prague’s transport authority has come up with the idea of extending the night time underground or metro services. The surprise suggestion comes just weeks after they suggested the services end earlier. For the most part, Czechs seem to have welcomed the proposed extension.

The idea advanced by Prague’s transport authority is for the last metro to leave later on Fridays and Saturdays. That is, they say, the period of peak demand for those who want to get a dose of culture or let their hair down at the end of the week.

The details of the proposal are that the last metro would leave at 1 am in the morning. That is around half an hour later than the current last services. But at the moment it still appears up in the air whether the extension will kick in for the summer tourist season or just afterwards.

The move would bring Prague, at least on these two days, into line with the last metro times of most large European capitals. Paris’ last metro, the broom as it is nicknamed, picks up the last passengers well after midnight with the last metro running at 2 am on Friday’s, Saturdays and before public holidays. The last service in Moscow departs at 1 am and in London services end between 12.30 and 1 am.

Only in February, the idea had been raised of cutting the final trains on the metro meaning that the last service would be brought forward to a few minutes after midnight.

The reception for the extension idea appears to be overwhelmingly in favour according to a quick sample of opinions on the street.

One elderly man gave this upbeat response. “I think it would be quite a good addition. People could go to the theatre or wine bars and not have to wait or pay through the nose for a taxi.”

“I think this is an excellent idea. I do not live in Prague, but if I did I am sure I would use it,” said one woman.

“Definitely, I like this. This would make the life of people, especially young people, easier. I would definitely be for it. The only question is how much it will cost. If this means that the price of tickets will go up then this would be something to think about,” said a middle aged man.

In fact, transport bosses say the extra service would cost around 40 million crowns, around 2.1 million US dollars a year. And they promise that ticket prices would not have to go up.

Local police also say that they are in the process of boosting their patrols on night metro services and at stations. By the end of the year they will add another 60 officers bringing the total to 270. That is three times the total in place in 2006.

21-04-2010