Back in May 2022, the rail authority of Germany introduced a heavily subsidized public transport pass to help people deal with rising inflation and encourage a reduction of CO2. Now results show the ultra-cheap train tickets experiment managed to prevent 1.8 million tons of carbon emissions.
According to the VDV public-transport lobby, the emissions reductions happened as commuters didn’t use their cars as much but rather preferred to use the 9 euro ($9) monthly ticket that allows them to travel on regional trains, subways, trams and buses across the country.
The ticket took effect in June but ends on the 31st of August. Several German politicians want the public transport subsidy extended in some form even though there are concerns over financing the ticket and strains on the transport network.
“We must find a convincing follow-up solution for a nationwide local transport ticket to continue to relieve the citizens who depend on it in times of rising prices and costs,” Petra Berg, environment and mobility minister in the western state of Saarland, said in a statement.
According to data, 52 million tickets were sold, with one in ten buyers ditching at least one of their daily car trips. Additionally, the passes have encouraged one in five people to switch to public transport for the first time.
“A radical change in every day behaviour due to a new offer was not to be expected. This makes the percentage of people trying alternative modes of transport to their own car all the more important… The important result is that many have integrated public transport into their everyday lives,” said Klaus Bogenberger, Researcher at the Technical University of Munich.
Still, the transport sector in Germany has a long way to go to reach CO2 neutrality. It has been blamed for falling short of environmental targets by some 3 million tons of CO2 last year which adds pressure on the government to find more ways to cut emissions.