200 CZK Entry Fee? Prague Plans to Charge Drivers Entering the City Center from January

Starting from the beginning of next year, drivers heading to certain parts of Prague might have to pay an entry fee. The plan is in motion by Prague 1 City Hall in collaboration with the city administration. Deputy Mayor for Transport Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) clarified that potential charges might apply to entering some areas of the historic district in the Lesser Town and near Smetanovo nábřeží.

Former BESIP expert Petr Vomáčka ignited this topic on social media, suggesting that the charges would apply to Prague 1. However, Hřib quickly clarified that point, although he admitted that discussions about charges for entering certain parts of the city center were underway.

“We have been talking all along about charging entry for certain areas within the historic district of the Lesser Town and near Smetanovo nábřeží. Charging for the entire Prague 1 was never on the table,” Hřib wrote.

Vomáčka later acknowledged his mistake regarding the extent of the measures and apologized for it.

Speculation about charging entry into the city center has been ongoing. The intention was discussed back in May by Hřib (Pirates) and Mayor of Prague 1 Terezie Radoměřská (TOP 09). Hřib’s goal is to prevent congestion in areas like the Lesser Town and the opposite Smetanovo nábřeží that could obstruct public transportation.

The city administration should have a legal analysis prepared, and a proposal for the measure is now in development.

“The initial comprehensive proposal will be available within fourteen days. The proposal for entry charges will apply to both banks of the Vltava River around Charles Bridge, meaning the left bank around Újezd and Karmelitská streets from Tržiště and the right bank around Divadelní and Smetanovo nábřeží streets, Křižovnická. Preliminarily, it could start in early 2024,” explained Vojtěch Ryvola (ANO), a councilman for transport in Prague 1, to iDnes.cz.

Drivers might be required to pay 200 CZK. However, Ryvola noted that the discussion around charging is just a proposal at this stage.

Hřib believes the fee won’t apply to residents or local business owners. “We are still finalizing the exact proposal for charging entry into selected parts of the city center, and no finalized decision is on the table,” he posted on social media.

A planned measure was reported on Monday by iRozhlas.cz, stating that both the city administration and Prague 1 support it. On the other hand, some surrounding districts, such as Prague 6, are against it. They fear it would become a parking lot for people heading to the city center. Many residents of Prague also disagree with the idea.

Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, in the Novinky PoliTalk podcast at the end of June, denied that Prague was considering such an initiative, linking entry charges to the completion of the city’s ring road.

“Praha doesn’t want this. That’s what Prague 1 said. I’m afraid I disagree with that, as I am convinced that you can charge entry anywhere if you enable something else. If we don’t have the ring road, charging entry stops someone from going somewhere, perhaps to their grandparent’s house. For me, the condition is completing the ring road or creating conditions that allow an alternative route,” stated the mayor at the time.