Number of buses suitable for transport of persons with reduced mobility and orientation has increased unprecedently in recent years. As of 31 December 2018, the Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) had in its records a total of 1,170 buses, of which 934 in low-floor design.
Out of the total number of 929 buses dispatched during the busiest period (morning peak hour of a business day), a total of 683 buses are guaranteed as low-floor (of which 331 are standard, 303 are articulated and 49 are midi-buses, in case of which the afternoon dispatching is even 5 vehicles higher). The ratio of the guaranteed low-floor dispatching during a business day thus fluctuates around 70%, during a non-business day this ratio is around 87%. The Prague Public Transit Company ensures the guaranteed low-floor connections for all operated bus lines and a part of the lines is even completely low-floor. If possible, low-floor buses are deployed also for non-guaranteed connections and the total mileage (kilometric performance) of the low-floor buses within a full week amounts to more than 85% of the mileage of all buses of the Prague Public Transit Company.
First low-floor buses appeared in Prague at the turn of 1994 and 1995. Three low-floor vehicles Neoplan N4014/3 were launched into operation, in the following year then first four low-floor buses Karosa – Renault City Bus. Great boom of transport ensured by low-floor vehicles came in 2000, when the Prague Public Transit Company, joint-stock company bought 80 low-floor buses. This almost doubled their number. At the end of 2000, 123
low-floor buses were guaranteed to be dispatched during business days, 72 on Saturday and 75 low-floor vehicles on Sunday.
Another increase of the guaranteed connections was gradual, depending on the supplies of the new buses. A significant increase occurred again during 2010 – 2016. The number, and thus also the percentage, of the low-floor buses will continue to increase in the coming months. Improving the conditions for transport of persons with reduced mobility and orientation belongs to priorities of the Prague Public Transit Company.
In this area, the Prague Public Transit Company has long been cooperating especially with the Prague Wheelchair Users Association and with the United Organisation of Blind and Partially Sighted, with which especially the internal modifications of the each newly supplied bus type, including e.g. individual signalling elements, are consulted.
Low-floor bus An advantage of low-floor design lies definitely in that it enables boarding and disembarking of wheelchaired persons and that it simplifies boarding and disembarking of passengers with a pram. However, all passengers and even the carrier itself benefit from the low-floor design, since it enables easier and faster dispatching of passengers at the stops (e.g. SOR-type buses have more doors, which results in faster dispatching, another advantage being also the possibility of access to the pram platform from the second as well as the third door).
Although the low-floor buses are positively perceived by the public, sometimes this issue is not without criticism. In some cases, people negatively perceive the fact that most seats are placed on raised parts of the floor. However, this is well reasoned. The bus has plenty of devices (from fuel tanks to air reservoirs, etc.), which need to be placed under the floor. Earlier, in the case of classic types, there used to be enough space under the floor. Nowadays, less exposed areas under seats are used. Roughly speaking, the stairs, which were originally in the door, are relocated to the seats.
Guaranteed low-floor lines
The guarantee lies in the fact that a marked connection in the timetable will always be ensured by a low-floor vehicle. The guaranteed connections are marked in the timetables at the stops by the symbol of a wheelchair. Bus lines timetables can be found at the Timetables Portal. The Prague Public Transit Company currently guarantees low-floor connections for all its bus lines.
Besides the connections ensured by low-floor buses on regular lines, DPP also operates one special bus line. This line is designated for passengers with reduced mobility and orientation; TP, ZTP or ZTP/P card holders; pregnant women (including their accompaniment) and for passengers with children under 3 years. The special bus line connects barrier-free residential buildings in housing estates with the city centre.
Special lines ensuring transport of wheelchaired persons with reduced mobility Line H1 (timetable online)
Chodov – Petýrkova – U Kunratického lesa – Na Proutcích – Kunratická škola – IKEM – Nemocnice Krč – Poliklinika Budějovická – Pankrác – Pražského povstání – Jedličkův ústav – I. P. Pavlova – Hlavní nádraží – Florenc – Náměstí Republiky – Hlavní nádraží – I.P. Pavlova – Jedličkův ústav – Pražského povstání – Pankrác – Poliklinika Budějovická – Nemocnice Krč – Petýrkova – U Kunratického lesa
2 specially adjusted buses of Iveco Crossway LE type are dispatched for the line. The vehicles have reduced number of seats and extended space for transport of higher number of wheelchairs (up to 7 wheelchairs at the same time).