Finally, Prague metro to return back to normal... somewhat
Almost six months after last August's devastating floods, the Prague metro system is still not fully functional, with only two of the three underground lines in full operation. Travellers along the B line of the system often find themselves having to transfer to buses or trams, which take them to the next operational metro station. Passengers sometimes even find that some days the trains on line B have ceased to operate at some stations - even though they were running at those same stations the day before. The journey may finally become less complicated... somewhat.
People in some parts of Prague will be glad to hear that sound in the coming days that of the Prague metro. The B line of the metro has been operating only in some sections of the underground. Some trains only run one-way between stations plus the fact that trains do not run from one end of the line to the other make travel on the metro system a daunting task at times.
For people living along the B line getting to certain parts of the city is almost as difficult as it was weeks after last August's floods. Because the B line does not connect to rest of the underground network on the West side of the city, trams are still making up the difference. For people commuting from certain area's such as Smichov, located in Prague 5 on the West bank of the river Vltava, the daily commute to the centre of the city has become something of a chore. People have become professionals at squeezing into the smallest of spaces on the trams, however, finding the best spot on the morning tram is not however how many people would like to start their day.
Nevertheless, things are starting to look on the up. This weekend trains are expected to start to run the full length of the B line. This means that all three of Prague's underground lines will be operating, something which has not happened since mid-August of last year. Although trains will be running along the full length of the B line, some stations which were hard hit along the Vltava river will remain closed till the end of March. Overall, 25 of 51 metro stations were affected by the floods.
Originally, the metro was to be fully functional by the end of January. The delay has been blamed on the slow repair of the underground's escalators and the shortage of a special high voltage cable.
Latest figures released by the Prague transit company state that repairs have so far cost 3 billion Czech crowns, or just under 95 million euros. Total damage caused by last August's floods are expected to reach an astonishing 7 billion crowns, or 236 million US dollars. The European Investment Bank has offered to provide a 2 billion crown load to help pay for the repairs.
At the same time, officials in Prague are deciding to what extent the public shelter in the Prague metro should be renovated after last August's floods. Under the communist regime the metro was built not only as a means of mass transportation but also as a public shelter against such events a nuclear war. Interior Minister Stanislav Gross announced that the government is interested in repairing the shelter, the cost of which would be in the hundreds of thousands of crowns.