Czech passenger market opening in sight
CZECH REPUBLIC The government has backed the Ministry of Transport's plans to call tenders by the end of the year for the operation of subsidised long-distance passenger services on five routes from December 2016:
- Praha - Ústí nad Labem - Cheb
- Praha - Ústí nad Labem - D??ín
- Plzen - Most
- Liberec - Pardubice
- Liberec - Ústí nad Labem
These routes would be followed by Ostrava - Opava - Krnov - Olomouc, which was to have been the pilot scheme. RegioJet was selected in March for a KC2·1bn contract to operate this route for 15 years from December 2014, but the deal was scrapped after the collapse of the government and the appointment of a caretaker administration which committed not to make any 'strategic decisions'.
The ministry hopes that liberalisation of the long-distance passenger market will lower its financial burden and improve services, mainly through the introduction of new rolling stock.
Initially, it was assumed that all long-distance services would be put out to tender by 2019-20, when the 10-year contract with incumbent operator CD signed in December 2009 expires.