Transport to Prague Airport could change dramatically in next decade

Аэропорт "Рузыне"

Do you need to get from Prague Airport to the centre of the city? Currently you can either wait for a bus or take a taxi and hope you wouldn't fall victim to Prague's notorious taxi drivers. Now it seems that in the future, travelling from the airport may be quite a different story.

With 11.5 million passengers a year travelling from the airport and 8 million a year commuting from the nearby city of Kladno, Prague has long debated how to improve the difficult traffic situation. The question ran: should there be a metro or a railway connection? Prague Town Hall has been in favour of extending the green "A" line to the airport, arguing that it would serve the city better, relieving Prague from the overload of traffic. More stops and shorter intervals are among their other arguments.

Prague councillor Petra Kolinska from the Green Party, on the other hand, would prefer to modernise the existing train connection. This would ease transport of people from Ruzyne Airport and at the same time serve commuters from the region of Kladno. It would also reduce the number of cars coming to Prague every day from this direction.

"We are sure that the connection between centre of Prague and the airport and the connection between Prague and Kladno must be provided by train. And we have three main reasons. First, the train is faster and more comfortable. The train has first class, a toilet and enough space for luggage. Second, the railway project is cheaper. And third, railway would be ready in four or five years. On the other hand, the underground project could be done not sooner than in ten or fifteen years."

Prague Town Hall maintains its stand in favour of a metro link, but at the same time, doesn't discount the idea of a railway connection. So, Prague could eventually end up having both. If the capital went ahead with both projects, it would be, together with London and Athens, only the third European city to afford both metro and railway connections to an airport. But this luxury won't come cheap. Estimated costs for modernising the existing railway and extending it as far as the airport are 13.5 billion Czech crowns while metro extension would reach 40 billion. In short, the bill would come to about 53 billion crowns (around 2.5 billion US dollars).

Whatever the final decision of Prague Town Hall will be, thousands of passengers travelling from the airport and commuting from Kladno and nearby villages on a daily basis will have to put up with crowded buses and traffic jams for a few more years. If the current proposals become reality, the train connection to the airport should be completed in 2013 and the metro extension in 2016 at the earliest.