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Pleasure: the bus is coming - transport companies want to expand


ZEIT ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates

Berlin (dpa) - push, push, "please go through something else" - rums, door closed, just fits. Anyone who takes the subway in the rush hour of German cities knows that. Buses and trains have become fuller in recent years.

"Our system is currently full in cities and metropolitan areas," said the Association of German Transport Companies in Berlin on Tuesday. And he was determined to "show off": In ten years, the companies want to have another 30 percent more passengers. How exactly this should work and who pays for it is still unclear in many places.

In long-distance transport - at Deutsche Bahn - meanwhile, there is a problem with the expansion of services. The software causes problems in new double-decker intercity trains, and malfunctions increase. According to information from the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (Tuesday), the operating system of the train breaks down regularly.

Now the state-owned company does not want to buy 25 new Intercity trains from the manufacturer Bombardier Transportation, as a railway spokesman said. On the Karlsruhe-Nuremberg and Stuttgart-Singen routes, technicians on board and reserve trains are to secure the timetable.

Are problems threatening to fill the timetable? "We are counting on the manufacturer to remedy the defects in 2020," said a railway spokesman. "Then this question does not arise." According to a spokeswoman, Bombardier is working to significantly improve the reliability of trains "promptly".

The double-decker should actually help to connect more cities to long-distance traffic. The number of passengers is expected to double in the next ten years. According to its own calculations, Deutsche Bahn will invest around 12 billion euros in new trains by 2026. The largest item is the new ICE4 trains - but here, too, the railroad had refused to accept Bombardier and Siemens for several months last year. The cause was faulty welds.

There is also a need for vehicles in local transport. According to figures from the Association of German Transport Companies, customers traveled around 10.4 billion times by bus and train last year. At 0.3 percent, the increase was the lowest in years. "We are unable to accommodate many more passengers," said President Ingo Wortmann.

First of all, regular buses would be needed. Buying buses is faster than building tram and subway lines - here, among other things, due to long approval procedures, major expansion is not expected until the 1930s.

Munich alone will have to double the number of its buses by 2030; it is comparable in other metropolitan areas, said Wortmann, who also heads the Munich transport company. More bus lanes and priority switches at traffic lights are also necessary.

The question remains about money. Like Deutsche Bahn, municipal transport companies are also better equipped: The funding for new construction and expansion, for example for trams or subways, will double this year to 665 million euros, in 2021 it will increase to one billion euros annually, and from 2025 to two billion Euro.

That is more than ever, but again not that much when you look at the construction costs: the new one-and-a-half kilometer long subway section Unter den Linden in Berlin alone costs more than half a billion euros. Many German underground stations and tunnels are also in need of renovation.

And the operation also has to be financed - requests for cheaper tickets, for example with 365-euro annual tickets, obviously annoy transport companies. Berlin's governing mayor Michael Müller (SPD) accuses the Association of Populism. Nationwide, a 365 euro ticket leads to loss of revenue of more than four billion euros a year, said Wortmann. "We have to drive more and drive more costs more money."

DB facts about Intercity 2 (PDF)

DB information on Intercity 2

DB route network of Intercity 2

Product homepage of the manufacturer

Press releases VDV

Source: zeit

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