A branch to Wiesbaden should still be possible in Mainz, although it is unlikely that a tram project of any kind will be launched in the neighboring city on the right bank of the Rhine in the foreseeable future.

After more than 25 years of planning, the people of Mainz, who themselves have a well-functioning and heavily used tram network, have to accept that the majority of citizens on the other side of the river did not want a tram that should have connected both communities.

After the negative referendum on November 1, 2020, the topic in Wiesbaden is over.

The Mainzer Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG), on the other hand, relies on the further expansion of the rail network.

By 2030, three routes are to be put into operation,

Markus Schug

Correspondent Rhein-Main-Süd.

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The current 30-kilometer network, which was supplemented by the nine-kilometer Mainzelbahn line in 2016, is currently used by a good 35 percent of all MVG customers, says Jochen Erlhof, Managing Director of Mainzer Mobility, to justify the further expansion plans.

Before the expansion, however, the tram share was only 25 percent.

The enormous growth spurt triggered by the line expansion surprised people just as much as those who had prepared user forecasts in advance.

More federal funding

In fact, in the three districts of Bretzenheim, Marienborn and Lerchenberg affected by the Mainzelbahn, up to 20 percent more passengers are now on the move than before by bus.

All in all, according to Erlhof, in 2019, i.e. before the corona pandemic, 57 million people used the transport company’s buses and trains.

185,000 passengers are transported daily.

Mainz has long been a tram city, but wants to continue to fulfill this claim in the future.

The fact that federal funding and programs have recently been significantly increased should help here.

If a route is worthwhile, which must be proven by means of a cost-benefit analysis, planning and construction could ideally be funded by up to 75 percent, according to Erlhof.

The own contribution is reduced accordingly.

"A very rough estimate" is currently calculated at a cost of 15 to 18 million euros for each kilometer of new tram track to be laid, depending on the specific route.

After the end of the Citybahn, which should have run from the Rhine through Wiesbaden and Taunusstein to Bad Schwalbach, the Mainz city council is now opting for a purely left-bank expansion.

It will always be possible to implement an additional line from Münsterplatz through the Große Bleiche and over the Theodor-Heuss Bridge to Hesse - even if only the old Mainz districts of Amöneburg, Kostheim and Kastel can be connected.

"Probably not a conflict-free solution"

What is fixed, however, is that there should be an extra branch from Münsterplatz directly to the West station by 2025 to relieve the Mainz main station.

In addition, an inner city ring is planned, for which drafts were presented in online information for citizens last Thursday.

According to Janina Steinkrüger (Die Grünen), head of the transport department, it is about better connecting the old town and the new town: i.e. “the most heavily visited with the most densely populated district”.

Since it could be tricky to lay a new tram line in the middle of the city - regardless of whether it's on the Rheinallee or through Hindenburgstrasse or Wallaustrasse - those responsible have so far only spoken of "variant ideas" that will be discussed with the people of Mainz in the next 15 months are to be discussed.

And they admit from the outset that there may be "a low-conflict, but probably no conflict-free solution".

Irrespective of this, a separate rail connection is to be found for the Heiligkreuzviertel residential area that is currently being built by 2030.