As of September 1st, students and retirees are entitled to a 75% discount on all national train and bus lines operating in the Czech Republic.
Announced by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš last March, the measure was initially supposed to take effect on June 10, before being postponed until after summer. Its main goal is to make transport between cities and all around the country more affordable for groups of people with lower-income. In his campaign, M. Babiš had promised free transport for retirees and students.
Students under the age of 26 and retirees over 65 will now only pay 25% of the normal price, and only need to present a valid identity card (national I.D., passport, student card, ISIC, etc.) when purchasing the tickets. Both Czech and non-Czech nationals will be able to benefit from the discount.
Valid for all national long-distance and regional train and bus lines, the discount doesn’t apply for urban public transport – in Prague, for instance, students and seniors are already entitled to a discount of more than 50% on all long-term tickets. In trains, the discount only applies for 2nd class seats.
With an estimated annual cost of 5.8 billion Kč (around 230 million euros), the measure doesn’t exactly come cheap. There is, after all, no such thing as a free ride. But it will most likely improve the accessibility of transport for lower-income groups, especially students who, until now, were only entitled to a discount on trips between their place of residence/hometown and their school or university.
The Czech Republic boasts one of the densest railway networks in Europe. Last year, national operator České Dráhy recorded over 170 million passengers on its trains – keeping in mind that the Czech Republic has a population of 10,7 million people – while private carriers, including RegioJet and Leo Express, are also quickly expanding their operations.