Comparison of Urban and Suburban Rail Transport in Germany and in the Czech Republic
Rail transport is an environmentally friendly form of passenger transport which can be utilized effectively also in urban and suburban transport systems. The paper describes the urban and suburban rail transport system including comparison of selected Czech (Prague, Brno and Ostrava) and German metropolitan regions (Munich, Nuremberg and Dresden). Its aim is to analyze the importance of various factors influencing the differences between the situation in Germany and in the Czech Republic. Therefore, the research question is whether these differences are primarily caused by a different liberalization stage, or whether they are a result of other factors such as available infrastructure, investment level, rail transport services budget, structure and activity of ordering bodies and coordinators or geographical context. The supply of city and suburban rail transport is quite good in Germany and in the Czech Republic, although trains in Munich, Nuremberg and Dresden run more frequently, faster and are better interconnected with car transport. German rail transport sector is at a higher stage of liberalization, and tendering procedures are the preferred selection method for contractor carriers. However, a degree of liberalization of the railway sector is not the key marker indicating a better standard of urban and suburban rail transport in Germany because it is the high standard which is achieved as the consequence of the professional activity of the ordering bodies and train service coordinators in combination with geographical conditions, available financial sources and effective transport infrastructure. On the other hand, the importance of liberalization cannot be totally overlooked as tenders are a tool for the ordering bodies to strongly affect the price and quality of transport services in their area. The supply of better quality and attractive transport to passengers could increase the usage of rail transport in metropolitan regions and could have indirect but important socio-economic impacts
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