Prague metro passengers have an automated future to look forward to, Source: Depositphotos

Prague greenlights automatic trains in its metro

Prague greenlights automatic trains in its metro

They will start running on two of the underground lines by 2029

The Prague city council has taken the decision to purchase 69 driverless trains, which will be put into service on the local metro lines C and D (the latter - still in construction). This will result in the start of a process of automatization of the underground network.

The initial automatization proposal was put forward by Deputy Mayor Zdeněk Hřib with the argument that purchasing old-school non-automated trains made little sense in this day and age.

What’s more, the current metro trains used in the Prague underground are set to become obsolete somewhere in the next decade. The new automated trains will be ready to service the routes starting in 2029.

Concerns about metro automatization

That being said, and like with any disruptive innovation, there are concerns and critical voices to be heard.

On the one hand, there is the issue of costs. Reportedly, the trains, plus their servicing expenses until the 2060s, will total some 86 billion Czech crowns (about 3.45 billion euros).

According to Czech Daily, councillor Ondřej Prokop of the ANO party voiced concerns that Prague would be paying billions of crowns from the city’s budget over the following eight electoral terms, a move he deemed unprecedented.

Furthermore, there is always a sense of trepidation and unease about introducing driverless technology in transportation where human safety is at stake.

In response to that, Martin Sedeke, head of the transportation committee, stated that machines typically make fewer errors than humans. He pointed out the irrationality of fearing that robots will operate trains.

The aim of automatization is thus to make the Prague metro safer and more efficient rather than less so and to put the city in the growing club of other cities that have already taken that step, such as Paris.



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