Czechs lead EU in using public transport

Czechs rank highest in the EU for using public transportation, but they don’t want to compromise on car quality to reduce CO2 emissions

Raymond Johnston | 29.03.2011
Those Czech who do drive are among the least willing in the EU to switch to public transport

For getting around on a daily basis, the some 37 percent of Czechs said public transportation was the main mode of transport on a daily basis, a newly published Eurobarometer flash report on the future of transport stated. This was the highest proportion of any EU country. It is also one of only three countries — along with Hungary and Latvia — where more people rely on public transportation than on cars as a means of primary daily transport.

But Czech drivers scored as some of the toughest customers when it comes to reasons that would make them change their minds and leave their cars at home, coming in dead last in most categories. They also are among the most unwilling to sacrifice car quality to reduce greenhouse gases.

Central and Eastern European counties took most of the top spots in use of public transport, with — after the Czech Republic — Latvia at 36 percent, Hungary at 35 percent, and Poland and Estonia tied at 32 percent. The level of reliance on public transportation dropped to 5 percent in Cyprus, due largely to a lack of infrastructure.

Slovenia and the Netherlands were close to Cyprus, with roughly one-tenth of interviewees saying they mainly used public transport. The Netherlands, however, scored highest on people using “nonmotorized individual transport” such as cycling and walking.

“A slim majority (53 percent) of EU citizens said they used a car as their main mode of transport and about one in five (22 percent) used public transport. ‘Walking’ was mentioned by 13 percent of EU citizens, and 7 percent selected ‘cycling.’ The least popular choice was a motorbike, mentioned by 2 percent,” the Eurobarometer report stated.

The Czech Republic ranked 21st out of the 27 EU members for relying on “motorized individual transportation,” meaning mainly cars and motorbikes. Some 36 percent of people list cars as the main mode, and an additional 2 percent listed motorbikes. Cyprus (at 89 percent) and Slovenia (at 68 percent) led the EU for relying primarily on cars.

Cycling, at 7 percent, and walking, at 16 percent, was enough to for Czechs to score 10th place and slightly above the EU average for nonmotorized transportation.

Preference for modes of transportation

Across the EU, preference for types of transportation followed gender and educational patterns. “Men were more likely than women to say that they used a car to get around on a daily basis (59 percent vs. 47 percent of women). Women, on the other hand, more frequently said that they usually walked (16 percent vs. 9 percent of men) or used public transport (25 percent vs. 18 percent),” the report said.

“Respondents with the highest level of education were most likely to use a car as their main mode of transport for daily activities (62 percent  vs. 43 percent of those with the lowest level of education). Full-time students, on the other hand, were more likely to use public transport (47 percent vs. 18–22 percent of all other educational segments) and those with the lowest level of education most frequently mentioned ‘walking’ as their main method of getting around (19 percent vs. 9 percent of the most educated),” the report said, adding that those who live in rural areas were more likely to use cars on a day-to-day basis.

It may be difficult to convince Czech car drivers to switch to public transportation. The country came in last in the EU for drivers saying that the possibility to buy tickets online would make them use public transport more often. They were also in last place for saying that more attractive teminals, easier transfers between modes of transportation or better online schedules would make them use public transport instead of cars. The possibility to use a single ticket for all transport modes scored another EU-wide last place among Czech drivers as an encouragement to use public transport more frequently.

But leave my car alone

Czech drivers, however, say they are not willing to compromise on car characteristics to improve CO2 emission standards. “Romania had the lowest proportion of respondents who said it was likely that they would compromise on a car’s size (43 percent), but respondents in the Czech Republic were the most likely to answer that it was ‘not likely’ or ‘not likely at all’ that they would accept such a compromise (39 percent),” the report said. The EU average was 63 percent willing to compromise on a car’s size and 24 percent not willing to do so.

‘Respondents in the Czech Republic were the most likely to answer that it was ‘not likely’ or ‘not likely at all’ that they would accept such a compromise.’

In Cyprus — which relies most heavily on cars as a main means of transport — 75 percent of respondents said that they would be likely to buy a car that needed refueling or recharging more frequently if this would help reduce emissions. In Romania and Lithuania, on the other hand, just 48 of respondents are willing to reduce range.

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Use of Public Transport in Czech Republic vs Canada

I can say coming from Canada that the excellent public transport in Czech Republic was a refreshing change. We personally didn't buy a car until our second child came in 2009. 


Also it enables our company to limit use of vehicles which helps us to have a small part in promoting green initiatives. 


Of course, initiatives such as this one in Prague announcing free wifi on trams will go a long way to continue this high usage. 


Way to go Czech Republic!


Nathan Brown


Read how our company promotes green initiatives also. 

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