Prague has confirmed plans to introduce automatic, driverless trains for metro lines C and D. The city’s representatives overwhelmingly approved the plan to procure 69 such trains for the routes. The decision was supported mainly despite the hefty estimated cost of 86 billion crowns, including operational expenses until 2063.
The proposal was put forth by Zdeněk Hřib, the deputy mayor of Prague, and passed with a mandate to prepare for the “joint implementation of transportation systems” for the first section of line D and the entire line C. The trains are expected to be ready by 2029, with the deputy mayor stating that purchasing non-automated trains in the present day makes little sense.
Hřib’s predecessor, Adam Scheinherr, echoed this sentiment, stating that the current metro trains will end their life cycle between 2034 and 2040, necessitating a replacement plan. He added that the fear of robots taking over the operation of trains is understandable but irrational.
Martin Sedeke, head of the transportation committee, agreed, stating that machines typically make fewer errors than humans. He pointed out the irrationality of fearing that robots will operate trains.
However, the total cost did raise some objections, notably from Ondřej Prokop of the ANO party. He 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.
Despite the concerns, the decision marks a significant step towards automating the city’s metro system, reflecting a global trend towards leveraging technology to improve public transportation.