The number of people in traffic has increased, public transport is heading for a record. Tour buses have problems

The number of people in traffic has increased, public transport is heading for a record. Tour buses have problems
The number of people in traffic has increased, public transport is heading for a record. Tour buses have problems
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However, one type of transport has stagnated in recent years – tour buses. Strong competition from low-cost airlines is taking away passengers from tour buses, so last year the segment ended even worse than during the pandemic year 2020. The reason is that the price advantage of buses is gradually disappearing. So people prefer to choose faster air transport.

“For the summer holidays, we still kept the buses to Croatia, to the other destinations where we used to go by bus, today we primarily fly,” spokeswoman for the Čedok travel agency Kateřina Pavlíková told MF DNES. “Of the total offer, we use airplanes for 90 percent, buses represent only 2.5 percent and their share is decreasing,” she added.

So far, the bus has not lost its position only on sightseeing tours, during which the locations change several times during the vacation. The flexibility of travel is more important than comfort or speed of movement.

“We also go on one-day Advent tours by bus before the Christmas holidays. “Bus transport is still popular for spa stays, for example regularly throughout the year to the Hungarian city of Harkány,” added Pavlíková.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Transport, the so-called irregular bus service saw a drop in the number of passengers transported last year to around 20 million compared to 26 million the year before. The numbers even fell to the level of the results during the pandemic, and that was when this type of transport lost another of its main sources of income – school trips.

According to Vojtěch Hromíř, secretary of the Česmad Bohemia Association of Carriers, the reason for the decline is also the fact that a number of operators ceased operations in previous years. The more modest offer subsequently resulted in a lower number of passengers. On the contrary, regular bus traffic was on the rise last year. These buses transported 347 million passengers on both domestic and cross-border routes, while cross-border transport accounted for less than four million passengers. Year-on-year, regular bus transport transported 3.6 percent more people than the year before.

At the same time, the vast majority of transports were made up of connections in the so-called public transport obligation. Only approximately eleven million passengers were transported by services operated at the commercial risk of the carrier without additional payment from public money.

Most people in the country use public transport, which also saw the biggest percentage increase last year. According to statistics, it carried over 1.96 billion passengers. There are still around 270 million transported passengers left to reach the record, but in some cities there were already more passengers traveling by public transport than before the pandemic.

“We notice an increase mainly in sales, because they have already returned to the pre-covid level,” Martin Chval, executive director of the Association of Transport Companies of the Czech Republic, told MF DNES. According to him, after the first months of this year, it is very likely that the record from 2019 will fall.

Chval claims that the growing number of passengers is not yet reflected in the fact that the metro, buses, trams and trolleybuses are often overcrowded. However, one of the cities where the number of passengers is breaking records is Prague. The capital city’s transport company suffered from a drop in ticket sales from tourists during the covid quarantines, but they have already managed to return to the capital in the meantime.

According to Chvala, around a third of the passengers are in the season. The number of railway passengers also grew at a rate of almost six percent. Compared to regular bus transport, this has a smaller share of the number of passengers transported by about a third, but it is catching up in the long term. While 372 million passengers traveled by bus in 2010, 165 million people used the train. Last year, the mentioned 347 million passengers traveled by bus, while the railway transported 185 million people.

Even more significantly than the number of passengers, the transport performance of train transport grew, which is a category that also captures the distance traveled. “The figures show that the average transport distance has increased again, to 56.8 kilometers. This means that the number of passengers in long-distance transport is growing faster than in regional transport. This is due both to the ongoing modernization of the main lines and investments in vehicles,” said Miroslav Vyka, president of the Association of Passengers in Public Transport.

The article is in Czech

Tags: number people traffic increased public transport heading record Tour buses problems

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