- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Czech Railways Sees Passenger Numbers Rise, Yet to Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels
Czech Railways (ČD) has reported a significant increase in passenger numbers during the first half of the year, transporting over 79 million passengers, an increase of four million from the previous year. The most substantial growth in interest was observed in intercity transport. Despite this growth, the national carrier has not yet reached the pre-pandemic passenger levels of 2019, when 91.6 million people utilized their services. Nevertheless, fluctuations in carriers on certain routes have also influenced these figures.
CEO Michal Krapince stated that ČD’s intercity lines are now carrying more passengers than in 2019, with the recovery driven by foreign tourists, including those from overseas destinations like the United States. The ongoing demand for foreign holidays and the growing popularity of rail transport for international leisure travel are contributing factors.
Passengers in the Czech Republic are returning most rapidly to lines equipped with modern trains offering new services and reduced travel times, according to Krapince.
ČD noted that it has achieved levels of transport comparable to the pre-pandemic period from 2015 to 2019 on the lines under its operation. However, due to shifts in carriers on specific lines since 2019, the reported passenger ratio relative to 2019 stands at 86%.
While travel patterns have been influenced by the changing habits stemming from the pandemic era, with continued remote work practices, there is a growing demand for leisure travel, resulting in an overall increase in demand.
Transport performance also saw a positive trend during the first half of the year, with ČD covering 3.6 billion passenger kilometers, approximately 10.3 million more than the first half of the previous year. Passenger kilometers measure the distance traveled by passenger trains operated by ČD.
Although Czech Railways reported a gross profit of CZK 396 million last year – an improvement of over CZK 2 billion compared to the previous year – a consolidated loss of CZK 139 million was recorded after taxation. Freight transport contributed to profitability, while personal vehicle transport resulted in a deficit. The post-pandemic return of passengers has been pivotal in these financial dynamics, with ČD catering to 157 million customers last year, a rise of 36 million from the prior year.
Article by Prague Forum