CZECH REPUBLIC: Liberalisation of the Czech long-distance passenger market took a major step forward on November 30 when the Ministry of Transport selected operators to run subsidised services on three routes from December 2019, when the current 10-year contract with state incumbent ČD expires.

RegioJet has won an eight-year contract to run service R8 from Brno to Ostrava and Bohumín worth KC2·0bn, beating proposals from ČD (KC2·2bn) and Leo Express (KC2·0bn), which submitted the lowest bid but was deemed not to have meet the criteria.

Tendering led to a reduction of the price by about KC50m/year, while services will be increased from 15 to 17 return trips each day with an increase in rolling stock quality. This is the first long-distance contract won by open access operator RegioJet, which has also won a contract covering six regional lines in the Ústí nad Labem region.

Arriva has won a three-year contract covering R21 Praha – Tanvald, R22 Kolín – Nový Bor, R24 Praha – Rakovník and R26 Praha – České Budĕjovice, a large contract intended to offer economies of scale. The contract is worth KC731m (KC119 per train-km), while ČD requested KC931m (KC150 per train-km). Arriva plans to deploy 27 modernised Class 845 (ex-DB Regio Class 628.2) DMUs.

ČD will continue until December 2027 as the operator of Ex2 Praha – Vsetín (– Žilina) and R18 Praha – Luhačovice/Veselí nad Moravou, under a contract worth KC3·85bn, KC153m/year less than at present. RegioJet bid KC5·30bn. Air-conditioned PRM-compliant stock with charging sockets and space for bicycles is specified.

  • From April 14 RegioJet will run a daily Praha – České Budějovice train as an extension of its existing Brno – Praha service. There will be a bus connection to Český Krumlov.