The second part of the replacement of public transport shelters in Prague is coming to an end these days; the city has so far installed new ones at about 250 stops, Tomáš Jílek, director of the city company Technologie hlavního města Prahy (THMP), which is in charge of the replacement, said on Thursday.
The existing shelters are owned by JCDecaux, whose contract with the city ended in the middle of last year. In total, the municipality is replacing the furniture at 690 bus stops, which is the majority of bus stops in the capital. According to Jílek, it will be finished in the middle of next year.
“We are basically on schedule. The deadline of June 30th next year is not in danger,” Jílek said. He added that in the autumn, THMP will still catch up with part of the backlog that was created at the beginning of the year, so the overall project schedule is as agreed with JCDecaux.
At the same time, the director said, the latter still has not removed dozens of freestanding advertising spaces that it was already required to remove under the agreement.
The city is still sorting out who will hold a competition for a company to operate the advertising space at the bus stops. Jilek said THMP has already delivered draft material to the City Council to address this.
However, the city should not postpone the decision any longer because the absence of advertising for the new furniture is unnecessarily draining its profits. The situation will be further complicated by installing digital panels at some bus stops, which will begin soon.
While now the areas can be used for promotional purposes, at least by the municipality, in the case of digital panels, there will not be enough content for the screens to play. The panels will be at about 150 bus stops, according to earlier information.
So far, most of the shelters at bus stops in the capital have been operated by French firm JCDecaux, whose contract ended in the middle of last year. The city management decided not to extend it or look for another private operator to purchase its furniture.
The replacement began late last year. Prague chose the design of the new bus stops in 2018 in a design competition in which the Olgoj Chorchoj studio was successful. At that time, the jury particularly appreciated the design purity of the dark grey aluminum furniture.