Euro car

Alternatives for the big city

Initiative demands 1.100 euros per year for anyone who doesn’t have a car

Updated: 26.09.2021 07:27

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  • Author Mara Schumacher

To make life more environmentally friendly, cars should go – at least that’s what one initiative is calling for. People who do without are to be rewarded.

Berlin- The municipality of Denzlingen in Baden-Wurttemberg has set an example: those who do without their cars will be rewarded. Now a major city followed this idea.

City Berlin
Area 891.8 km²
Population 3.645 million (2019)
Mayor Michael Muller

A Berlin initiative calls for 1.100 euros a year – or just under 100 euros a month – for every citizen who does not own a car and instead uses alternatives such as car sharing, the bicycle or public transport. By comparison, an annual subscription to Berlin’s public transportation system (BVG) costs about 1.000 euros.

60.000 fewer private cars possible in Berlin

According to calculations by the initiators of Changing Cities and the Institute for Urban Mobility, this would allow 60.000 fewer private cars on the road in the capital. Around 1 2 million vehicles are currently registered in Berlin The cost of the so-called free road premium would be around one billion euros. The bonus is to be financed via the “revenue from the CO₂ price”, states. A model project has already been implemented in Berlin to make Friedrichstrasse completely car-free.

Subway line 5 in Berlin

Money premium could encourage people to give up their cars

Traffic scientist Andreas Knie reckons that about 50 percent of car owners can do without their cars in everyday life. A bonus would presumably encourage many people to consider giving up their cars. According to Knie, however, the public transportation system would have to be significantly improved, as drivers are accustomed to mobile independence.

This, he said, would require door-to-door coverage. Knie believes that the need to keep an eye on the timetable reduces the willingness of many people to switch from cars to public transportation. The federal states are already demanding additional billions for the expansion of local public transport.

Prices for public transport continue to rise

Bus and train fares have increased by nearly 80 percent from 2000 to 2018, while the cost of purchasing and maintaining a car has only increased by 36 percent, according to the German Federal Statistical Office. So for many, the car remains the cheaper and more practical choice to get from A to B. Only with incentives such as the premium of 1.100 a year could be used to persuade people to switch to public transportation, for example, the transport researcher is sure.

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