New metro line contracts under scrutiny as City Hall changes leadership

Visualisation of D line: Metroprojekt -

Plans for constructing a fourth metro line in the Czech capital are nearly as old as Prague’s first metro station. Yet they have proceeded at a snail’s pace, with multiple delays. The recently elected mayor has pledged to begin construction during his time in office, but a recent review of old contracts threatens to slow progress again.

Visualisation of D line: Metroprojekt -
Talk of a fourth, “D” line of the Prague metro was recently reinvigorated, as the new mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib of the Pirate Party, told Czech Radio that City Hall intends to begin construction during his term of office.

“We intend to start building within the next four years. The building will be started during this election term. However, the first section will not be finished until the next election term.”

The main purpose of the line is to relieve the C line, the busiest of Prague’s metro lines. It is due to run on a north-south axis, connecting the large housing estates in the south of the city with the centre.

Currently, the new coalition, which assumed power in November, is also reviewing and changing the leadership at the city’s various administrative departments and businesses.

On Monday, Czech Radio came out with a story that shows some tenders within the Prague Public Transit Company are possibly being hurriedly modified before the company’s current director, Martin Gillar, is reviewed by the new supervisory committee later this week.

Specifically, questions are being asked why the price on a CZK 580 million contract that concerns the construction of the D line, with a company called IDS, is being increased by a further CZK 58 million.

Hana Kordová Marvanová, who is one of the city’s newly elected councillors, consulted the contract with external lawyers.

“When we look at the provided documents, it is not clear why the price should increase according to the contract signed in 2010. The contract says the price is fixed.”

Hana Kordová Marvanová,  photo: Jana Přinosilová / Czech Radio
Mrs. Kordová Marvanová is now warning the Prague Public Transit Company against signing a new contract, which she says could be seen as an illegal step.

Mr. Gillar, who leads Prague’s transport company, says he is happy to wait until the new leadership to check the documentation more thoroughly before any signatures are made.

However, IDS told Czech Radio that even the CZK 60 million increase was too little and that the contract had been signed nearly 10 years ago. Its manager, Michal Lec, says that unless important specifications to the contract are made the construction of the new metro line could be slowed down.

While both sides agree that the old contracts will need to be refined and specified, the new leadership is unwilling to pay the extra fee.