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Chosen articles 09.03.2014
While the wonders of an underground train system are applauded and the charm of the tram cars warms their passengers, as the workhorse and binding agent of the Prague public transport system, the humble bus is often overlooked. Admittedly, the first venture into operating a bus system was officially labeled a failure, but that was 1908. To be fair, the combustion-engine powered vehicles had only been on the road for thirteen years and the technology was still far from perfect.
The spirit that encouraged the people of Prague to take a risk on such new technology should be admired and their willingness to revisit the venture in June 1925 would suggest that they never really gave up on the idea. Since then, the bus network of Prague has run continuously and it has consistently taken on innovations and new designs. These have included the recent introduction of articulated buses and the use of telematic systems, such as GPS monitoring and traffic signal preference.
A more far-reaching and intimate improvement has been the ticketing system that reduces the need for conductors and, therefore, reduces costs. The ticketing system in Prague requires travelers to pre-purchase a ticket for their journey. On boarding the bus, they then validate the ticket and the useable time span of the ticket begins from that moment. Should a passenger have forgotten to buy a ticket when they come to board a vehicle, they also have the option of buying one via their mobile phone.
The bus network of Prague serves a great purpose in connecting the static Metro and tram routes with residential neighborhoods and locations that lie between the Metro lines. To achieve this, many routes run tangentially or even perpendicular to the Metro lines.
For visitors to the city, the buses are vital as they provide the only public transport, other than taxis, from the Airport to the City Center. By catching Bus 100 or Bus 119 passengers are taken to a connecting train station, the Zličín station and the Dejvická station respectively. Other buses connecting with Metro stations will be indicated by an “M”. Seeing this on the relevant bus stop sign advises passengers that they can leave the bus at that point and continue their journey on a Metro train.
The bus system operates everyday of the year and on weekdays the interval between buses can vary from six to thirty minutes. These buses run from 4:30 am until midnight, but beyond midnight another schedule takes over. From midnight to 4:30 am, the night buses continue to provide transport, but the interval between buses can be between thirty minutes and an hour.
The public transport system functions as one organisation, integrating the three modes of passenger movement. Yet, the Metro and the trams could not operate successfully without the flexibility and support of the buses. With Night Buses, Airport Links and enchanting scenic routes, the buses of Prague play a vital role in the movement of people in the safest and most efficient manner.
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