Germany mulls free public transport in cities to curb emissions
In a bid to avoid EU fines for excessive air pollution, the German government is considering plans to make public transport free of charge to improve air quality in cities. Transport experts welcomed the proposed measures designed to lure more people onto buses, trams, and the underground, but said that this surprising proposal was half-baked and lacked crucial details, such as how such a policy could be financed. In a letter addressed to EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella and seen by the Clean Energy Wire, German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, a Social Democrat, Finance Minister Peter Altmaier, and Transport Minister Christian Schmidt (both conservatives) write that “together with the [federal states] and the local level, we are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars.” At a meeting held in Brussels in January, the European Commission had granted Germany a last deadline to propose concrete measures on how it intends to comply with the European Union’s air quality standards.
Find background on the diesel technology’s impact on clean air and climate in the CLEW article Why the German diesel summit matters for climate and energy.
Please note: The Clean Energy Wire will publish an article on this topic later today.