Germany is All Onboard to Encourage Long-Distance Train Travel

Fares on the Deutsche Bahn were decreased for trips over 50 km long.

Jan 23, 2020

Train travel can be a very fun experience. You can take in the beautiful scenery and have a leisurely relaxed travel experience without the hassles of air travel. Plus, trains are the more environmental choice.

Now, train travelers have an additional reason to go by rail; Deutsche Bahn the national railway company just cut the price of long-distance travel by 10 percent. That's because the government wants more people to take the train.  

This move, according to the company, came from the climate legislation passed by the government including a cut in the VAT – value added tax – on train travel from 19 percent to 7 percent.

"We are passing on this tax cut to our customers," Deutsche Bahn said on its website.

The new prices apply to trips over 50 kilometers (31 miles) and according to DW, only if the passenger travels from one railway region into another one. The prices are also being cut on other services like the fees for taking your bicycle with you.

There will be a decrease in fares of trips over 50 kilometers within the same region but that will be introduced later in 2020 according to Inside Digital Tech Portal.

At the Same time, fares for short-distance travel in Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Brandenburg, Bonn and the Rhineland will increase according to German News Agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). Fares for regional trains in Bonn will increase by 2.5 percent and 3.3 percent in Berlin. These fare increases were already approved before the government passed the new climate protection laws.

Richard Lutz, the head of Deutsche Bahn said in a statement that the company expects that the lower fares will bring an additional 5 million passengers a year.

But many people feel that the tax cut is not enough. The head of the left party Katja Kipping told Deutschlandfunk radio that the government should give every citizen a free BahnCard 50 that would discount the rates by an additional 50 percent.

In an attempt to cut carbon emissions and comply with the new regulations, Deutsche Bahn has planned on buying new trains for its Intercity-Express (ICE) fleet by 2026 at a cost of €12 billion ($13.46 billion).

Germany has already been greening its transportation. Hydrogen trains were introduced in Germany with the rollout of the Coradia iLint in 2018. The country is also testing power lines for eTrucks on the autobahn. The section being tested runs from Frankfurt airport to a nearby industrial park. The pilot program will run through 2022.

Reducing carbon emissions from transportation is a key part of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and Germany is onboard to meet its requirements to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.