Plans to open up 3/4 of the country's long-haul passenger rail capacity to competition over the next decade were unveiled on July 3 by the Czech Transport Ministry.
A shift to open tenders for capacity would come gradually, the ministry announced, though winning bidders would get 10 to 15-year operating contracts.
According to Reuters, the move would cut back dependence on the dominant operator, the loss-making state-owned Czech Railways (Ceske drahy). Some regional links have already been opened to competition.
- We are considering offering 5 to 15% of operating capacity each year - Transport Minister Gustav Slamecka said.
More than 184 million passengers travelled on Czech rails in 2007, with Czech Railways transporting 182 million of those, Reuters reports. The company, though, has showed operating losses in the tens of millions of dollars in each of the recent years.
Local media have reported, that Czech group Student Agency, Veolia Transport and Arriva could be among interested operators.