Thursday, May 31, 2007

Big Brother is alive and well in the Czech Republic

Transport Ministry to declare tender for satellite toll supplier


By Prague Daily Monitor
Copyright 2007

Prague (CTK) - The Czech Transport Ministry will soon declare a tender for the supplier of a satellite toll system for first-, second- and third-class roads, Miroslav Jaros, the Plzensky region's councillor for transport, told CTK today.

The agreement hammered out by the ministry and regional governors is a turnaround in the Czech toll affair. Originally, drivers were expected to pay toll only on major roads in a microwave system built by Austria's Kapsch.

"We will not comment on this. We will make information about the second phase public at the beginning of June," said Transport Ministry spokesman Karel Hanzelka. Kapsch spokesman David Simonik did not comment on the decision either.

Kapsch, which has built the microwave system on motorways and dual carriageways, has a valid contract to build the system on first-class roads.

This means Kapsch would lose a significant part of the contract because of the new tender. The new situation could also postpone the launch of the second phase, scheduled for January 2008.

The original contract says Kapsch will build the system on motorways and first-class roads, but the ministry asked Kapsch to submit a project of a hybrid system with satellite parts last autumn.

Last week, the Czech antitrust office UOHS rejected the solution, citing a breach of the contract. The UOHS also ordered the ministry to declare a new tender for the satellite part.

Jaros said regions had unequivocally rejected toll bridges, an integral part of the microwave technology, on first-class roads.

If toll is charged on all types of roads, the Czech system will be the most extensive in Europe.

It is not certain which vehicles will pay and where, and who will decide on this. The price has not been determined either, although regions want the highest fees on third-class roads and the lowest prices on motorways to make motorways more attractive for heavy trucks.

At present, toll is collected on almost 1,000 kilometres of motorways and dual carriageways in the Czech Republic. Drivers have paid more than Kc2 billion since the system was launched in January this year.

This story is from the Czech News Agency (ČTK).

The Prague Daily Monitor and Monitor CE are not responsible for its content.

© 2007 Czech News Agency (ČTK):

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