The Ministry of Transport has selected RegioJet to operate services on the 180km Line R8 from Brno to Ostrava and Bohumín in an eight-year contract beginning in December 2019. Frequencies will be increased from 15 to 17 train pairs a day, providing an hourly service pattern between 05.00 and 21.00. Regiojet will operate 2 million train-km per year on Line R8, compared with 1.7 million at present.

At Koruna 251m ($US 11m) a year, RegioJet’s bid is reportedly very close to that of rival long-distance passenger operator Leo Express. However, the Ministry of Transport has disqualified Leo Express from the bidding because its bid did not meet the assessment criteria. CD submitted an offer of Koruna 278m for the R8 contract.

The Ministry of Transport has also awarded Arriva Vlaky a contract for semi-fast services in Prague and Central Bohemia. Arriva offered a bid of Koruna 119 per train km, compared with a bid of Koruna 150 per km from CD. The ministry has provided Koruna 299 for the operation of these services this year, but this will fall to Koruna 244 under the new three-year contract, which encompasses four routes:

  • R21: Prague Vršovice - Prague hlavní nádraží - Turnov - Tanvald
  • R22: Kolín - Novy Bor
  • R24: Prague Masarykovo - Rakovník, and
  • R26: Prague hlavní nádraží - Přbram - Písek - České Budĕjovice.

Line R22 services currently run from Kolín to Šlukov but will be cut back to Novy Bor under the new contract. Line R21 frequencies could also be reduced between Trutnov and Tanvald, depending on the final agreement between the regional government and the train operator

The two-hourly Line R24 services currently lose Koruna 225 per km. The Ministry of Transport has decided to retain the service, although it could be transferred to regional control.

No requirements for rolling stock were specified in the tender and Arriva Vlaky will use modernised former DB Regio (Czech class 845) DMUs. A total of 23 trains will be required to operate the timetable on the four routes, although Arriva will have 27 trains available for these services. The fleet will be maintained at Prague Malešice.

The trains will be equipped with accessible toilets and wheelchair lifts, as well as passenger Wi-Fi and power sockets for portable devices. Free mineral water will be offered on board.

Despite losing out to Arriva and RegioJet, in these tenders, CD has overcome a bid from RegioJet to clinch a nine-year contract to operate hourly Line R2 inter-city services from Prague to Žilína in Slovakia and Line R18 Prague - Luhačovice trains from December 2019

The Ministry of Transport will pay CD an annual fee of Koruna 445m for these services, representing a reduction of Koruna 153m.

Transport minister Mr Dan Ťok said the savings demonstrate that there are further opportunities to improve services and increase frequencies without adding cost.