Prague Metro D: Controversies Surrounding the Tender for the Second Section

Stanislava Benešová

The Prague Transportation Company (DPP) recently approved the winning bid for the second section of the D Metro line. However, the tender process was anything but smooth, with allegations of threats and improper practices. The winning bid was submitted by the Subterra-led consortium, with a request of approximately CZK 30 billion, excluding VAT. The DPP’s head of communications, Daniel Šabík, confirmed this in a press release.

The tender process for the second section of the D Metro line, which will connect Pankrác with Písnice, was reportedly a fierce battle. The director of the DPP, Petr Witowský, said that some practices were entirely unacceptable, with pressure being applied to members of the DPP’s board, supervisory board, or the Prague City Council. Even members of the evaluation committee were threatened with emails from fictitious names. The DPP is considering taking further legal action.

The Porr-led consortium was excluded from the tender process due to significant deficiencies in their bid. The antitrust authority is currently addressing the tender, having canceled it in mid-July due to the conditions for bidders. The DPP appealed against the decision. However, according to the authority’s information, it cannot sign a contract with the winning bid until the final decision is reached.

The Subterra-led consortium was one of the three bidders to participate in the tender process, with the other two being led by Porr and Strabag. The latter offered the highest price and was excluded from consideration due to significant deficiencies in their bid. The DPP’s evaluation committee had to ask both parties to explain and modify their submissions during the tender process as they contained meager bid prices, qualification requirement deficiencies, and errors in the construction schedule.

In addition, the Porr-led consortium’s request to explain the meager price was practically ignored, with only some errors in the construction schedule being corrected. The DPP had to exclude the consortium from the tender process because some items in the lowest-priced bid were significantly below the market standard. This applied to some things, such as tunnel drilling. In contrast, other items were priced many times higher than the project manager had predicted and other bidders had offered.

If the DPP had accepted such a bid, it could have paid more than CZK 1 billion at the beginning of the project without accurate contract fulfillment. In the event of project delays, even without its fault, it would have to pay hundreds of millions for completion and coordination activities, according to Šabík. Therefore, based on the unanimous recommendation of the evaluation committee, the DPP has excluded the Porr-led consortium from the tender process.

The construction of the new D Metro line in Prague began last year, and a one-kilometer section between the Pankrác and Olbrachtova stations is currently under construction. The following section will be from Olbrachtova to Nové Dvory, and the last from Nové Dvory to the Písnice Depot. The antitrust authority is currently reviewing the Metrostav DIZ company’s proposed tender.

The tender’s evaluation committee determined that the Subterra-led consortium’s bid was the most suitable for the project. However, the tender process’s controversies have raised concerns about transparency and fairness, which the DPP will have to address in the future.