Early next year, drivers in Prague may have to pay to enter the city centre. The city council and the administration of Prague 1 want to introduce such a measure, despite opposition from some other districts. The fee could amount to 200 CZK.
The precise commencement date of this measure has not been definitively established yet. The municipality, in collaboration with Prague 1, is contemplating a potential implementation during either January or February of the following year. Currently, they are in the process of ironing out the specifics, including the exact geographical area that will be subject to the fee.
The municipality has conducted a legal assessment, which has laid the groundwork for the formulation of a preliminary proposal.
“In conjunction with Prague 1, our objective is to define the designated zone in a manner that primarily addresses traffic concerns. Our aim is to prevent disruptions to tram services through areas such as Malá Strana and Smetana Embankment, as this could have a ripple effect on the entire transportation network,” stated Zdeněk Hřib, the Deputy for Transport from the Pirates party.
Exemptions from this fee are being discussed as well. Simultaneously, the Technical Administration of Communications is engaged in constructing a comprehensive model to gauge the potential ramifications of this city center fee on traffic flows in other parts of the city. Preliminary proposals indicate that drivers would likely be required to pay upon entering primarily the aforementioned Malá Strana and Smetana Embankment. Moreover, policymakers are actively defining the categories of individuals who would be exempt from this fee.
“Residents form the fundamental basis for exemptions, and in addition, ongoing negotiations are determining the scope of exceptions, including business operators within the area, or whether this will extend to those who have registered companies here. I personally perceive the latter as a less favorable approach. However, there is a consensus with the municipal authorities that this measure is imperative,” stated Terezie Radoměřská, Mayor of Prague 1 from the TOP 09 party.
In accordance with an initial foundational analysis conducted several months ago, the introduction of this fee may potentially pose a significant challenge on the bustling Ječná Street. Remedial strategies are being devised by the technical administration to address this concern.
However, there are districts that stand in opposition to this fee. One example is Ondřej Matěj Hrubeš, a council member from Prague 6 representing the ODS party, who suggests that addressing the parking zone system across the entire city should coincide with the center’s closure.
“If strict enforcement of parking within the zones in Prague 1 were already in effect, limitations would essentially exist. The question remains whether increasing parking costs would prompt drivers to reconsider their need to access Prague 1. Additionally, if entry to the city center were genuinely restricted, there is a concern that these vehicles would linger in the Dejvice and Hradčanska regions, which currently face evident issues,” Hrubeš remarked.
Hrubeš suggests that raising parking fees in Prague 6 could potentially be a way for the city hall to exert partial influence over the volume of parked vehicles in the district. Furthermore, even the available parking capacity may fall short if a fee is levied for city center parking.
“It’s worth noting that Prague 6 lacks designated P+R parking facilities, despite being a district with a population of 100,000. Vehicles enter from the northern and western directions, encountering a shortage of parking spaces. With no incentive to park beforehand, there is also the problem of traffic queues forming at the entrances to city ring road tunnels. If vehicles were barred from traversing the city center, these traffic bottlenecks would likely intensify,” Hrubeš added.
The town halls of Prague 8 and Prague 9 have also previously voiced objections to the potential implementation of a fee for entering the city center.