The new year brings a time to reflect on the past one and make predictions for the future. A number of positive changes came to Prague and the Czech Republic in 2015 including, but surely not limited to, mobile and internet coverage on metro and trams, while several important laws were put into motion that could make Prague a very different place in five years. What will we say good-bye to in the years to come?
1. Tourist blight
Selfie sticks could be over before they started. TechCrunch first spotted this app that makes it possible to take hands-free photos by simply titling your head. Prague’s greatest tourist blight isn’t selfie sticks, though: new legislation is being drafted to get Segways off the sidewalks, while the ubiquitous love locks affixed to a number of important Prague monuments by unwitting tourists—see our 2015 article on the subject—may be headed for the archives, too.
2. Smoky pubs where beer is cheaper than water
The restaurant scene in Prague and the Czech Republic grew in leaps and bounds in 2015 with fashionable eateries and bars conquering the home of the humble hospoda. And while many are smoke-free, a number of old favorites are not. In 2015, the Czech government approved a draft bill to ban smoking in pubs and restaurants that must now pass in parliament.
Zuzana Cabejšková of the NGO Czech the Tap also predicts that the Czech lack of tap water in restaurants will disappear:
“My expectation is that tap water will become standard in all restaurants. [Currently] the government is considering a bill which would require at least one soft drink to be cheaper than beer. Tap water will likely have that privilege.”
3. Old cars, cheating cabbies, free parking
Currently a law is in motion that would establish low-emission zones in central Prague as early as 2017, meaning that cars made before 1993 would be banned from the center. While Prague’s recently established paid parking zones have curbed free parking, the government wants to offer it as an incentive to owners of electric cars.
But if filmmaker Janek Rubes of Prague vs. Crooks on Stream.cz has his way, traffic will disappear entirely:
“I am almost certain, that 5 years from now, there will be only a few crooked cabbies left. The process will be sped up with services like Uber that are changing the taxi industry globally. I hope that 5 years from now, there will simply be no cars in Prague.”
4. Casinos and herna bars
In 2015 a motion to drastically reduce the number of casinos and gambling bars in the city was officially approved; in 2016, 212 gaming sites will have their gaming licenses revoked, while the city will also stop issuing gaming licenses to new establishments as they gradually phase out the existing venues. Some districts, including Prague 4, 5, and 7, will enforce a strict zero tolerance policy towards gambling, leaving no casinos in those districts.
5. The old consumer experience
A number of 2015 surveys suggested that Czech consumers habits are changing. Last year record numbers shopped online for everything from groceries to gadgets while small shops continued to lose the fight to hypermarkets.
One interesting law aimed to put an end to, or at least ease, the glut of consumerism: lawmakers are currently fighting to close large shops on Sundays and holidays.
Jenny Day and Aneta Hebrová, co-founders of Greenglasses, a guide to sustainable living in Prague currently fundraising on Hithit have a different vision for the future of the consumer experience in the Czech capital:
“We envision a a better-developed sharing economy and a renewed interest in local products…and while they may not disappear, we expect less of a prevalence of shops selling low-quality imported products.”
With Prague shops like the Zdrojovna recycling collective gaining popularity in 2015, this prediction seems to be right on the mark.