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LN: Popularity of rail transport on rise in ČR

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Prague, June 15 (CTK) – The popularity of railways has been rising among Czechs at the cost of bus transport, and people are even starting to prefer trains to travelling by car, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes Monday, citing the White Paper of Public Transport completed by the Transport Ministry.

The White Paper, to be discussed by the government, aims to outline the country’s transport policy until 2020.

In 2013, the number of passengers travelling by train reached 175 million, which is 10 million more than in 2009.

The increase is even more visible in terms of the number of passengers per covered kilometre. In this category, the performance of railways rose by almost 20 percent between 2009 and 2013, the daily writes.

On the other hand, the number of passengers going by bus and coach declined by 30 million in the same period, to 338 million in 2013, the paper says.

The number of people travelling by their own cars has also decreased, by ten percent. In spite of this, individual transport remains the most frequent transport means, after municipal public transport, the daily writes.

Apart from trains, the only transport means whose popularity has been rising are boats, including recreation vessels and ferries. Nevertheless, water transport’s share is marginal in the overall passenger transport statistics, LN writes.

Experts ascribe the railway boom to the emergence of private operators on selected lines as business rivals of the state Czech Railways (CD) company.

Railways also benefit from the ongoing protracted repairs of the crucial D1 motorway and from the sophisticated system that combines municipal public transport with the suburban rail network, the daily writes.

A persisting problem is the lack of park and ride opportunities around cities for the drivers who want to continue to the city centre by train in order to avoid a traffic jam, the White Paper says.

The problem is to be solved with the help of the EU subsidies going to sustainable means of transport. The Czech Republic can draw up to 13.7 billion crowns for the completion of the park and ride system and information systems, and for the purchase of low emission vehicles in 2014-2020, the daily writes.

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