BERLIN (AP) – Travelers in Germany will be able to cross the country for less than $ 10 a month this summer …
BERLIN (AP) – Travelers in Germany will be able to cross the country for less than $ 10 a month this summer as part of a government program designed to fight rampant inflation, high fuel prices and climate change.
The challenge: the new “9-euro tickets”, which went on sale on Wednesday, apply only to local and public transport, so getting from the Baltic Sea to the Black Forest will take some time.
While travelers can expect to arrive eventually, many will have to put up with delays and crowds as bus and train operators struggle with the influx of new passengers.
However, the Germans have already sold out more than 7 million tickets, the association representing the Byzantine patching of German regional transport companies, VDV, said this week.
It expects up to 30 million users monthly from June to August in a country of 83 million. The first big test is expected this weekend, when most of the country will have a long Pentecost weekend.
Mobility expert Katja Dill said the tickets would be especially useful for low-income people and families who want to travel cheaply in Germany. She doubted that the summer program would have a big impact on how passengers behave, although crowded trains could push arguments for more funding for public transport, stressing demand.
“We need a massive expansion of what’s being proposed,” Dill said.
“Germany wants to double the number of passengers on public transport,” she said. “It’s only possible with reliable alternatives (cars) and a good price that won’t end in three months.”
Some of Germany’s neighbors have taken a more integrated, long-term approach to encouraging people to use public transport.
Last year, Austria launched a “climate ticket” covering all modes of transport. It costs 1,095 euros ($ 1,175) a year, but there are discounts for families and those who have an income.
Meanwhile, tiny Luxembourg has made all public transport free in 2020.
German environmentalists have criticized the government for introducing tariff reduction tickets along with lowering the fuel tax, arguing that the subsidy would help oil companies while undermining efforts to force people to switch to climate-safe modes of transport.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz dismissed those concerns. Speaking the day before both measures went into effect, Scholz said he was confident they would be “indeed, a very big success”.
Geir Mulson contributed to this report.
Stay tuned for coverage of AP climate issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate
Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or distributed.