Upgrading public transport in the Czech Republic

Article, 15.11.2016

The Czech city of Beroun is pleased with its new bus station. Local and regional buses now stop directly next to the train station, making the kilometre-long walk from one to the other a thing of the past.  In addition to the much shorter connection time, the project, which was organised in the context of Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU, clearly improves the security of passengers and takes into account the needs of people with disabilities.

A small group of people board a local bus at the new bus station – newly planted trees and green spaces are evidence of the regeneration work done in this area.
Commuters benefit from better public transport connections following the transformation of the bus station. © SDC / SECO

Beroun is an urban centre of almost 20,000 residents about 30km from Prague. Many of the residents of Beroun and the surrounding areas commute to the capital to work. Before the project was completed, the train station and the bus station were situated about a kilometre apart, which meant that commuters had a good 15-minute walk to change from local and regional buses to the national railway. With this project of the Swiss-Czech cooperation programme it was possible to eliminate this major inconvenience and significantly raise the efficiency of the transport system.

As a result of this recently completed project a bus station with three covered platforms and an electronic timetable have been built on the square in front of the railway station. The needs of people with disabilities were given special attention in the planning.

Now that the rail and bus stations are close together, regional and local bus timetables are being synchronised with the train connection.  Expectations are high. The reorganised transport infrastructure and the better service is expected to create a 10% increase in passengers.

Additional activities through exchange rate gains

Savings made through public procurements and exchange-rate gains resulting from the stronger Swiss franc since January 2015 have made it possible to carry out additional work within this project. For example, the old bus station was demolished. The existing parking lot next to the old bus station was enlarged and renovated. New timetables with real-time information at selected bus stops provide information on the arrival times of the next buses.

If, in spite of optimised timetables, prolonged waiting times should arise at the station in the future, the soon to open playground will keep children occupied and reduce stress for parents waiting for their connection in Beroun.

Public transport: A priority of the Swiss programme in the Czech Republic

Switzerland is funding several projects to improve public transport in the Czech Republic with approximately CHF 29 million. Similar projects to that in Beroun have been carried out in the cities of Uhersky Brod and Pardubice. In Olomouc, a new 1.4 km tram line connects a district of the city with the tram network. In Ostrava, renovated tram stops enhance passenger security and a newly built trolley bus line closes a gap in the city's transport system.