Deutsche Bahn has described the decisions of the Climate Cabinet as "excellent news for the railway in Germany and its customers". "According to our first estimates, the German government is also strengthening the German railway sector with more than 20 billion euros by the year 2030," said railway chief Richard Lutz. Consumer advocates demanded that the massive investment would lead to an improvement in supply and quality.
Regarding climate cabinet decisions, Lutz said, "This is great news for the entire sector and its more than 500,000 employees." The resolutions showed that "climate protection, growth and employment are not opposites, but go hand in hand with the climate-friendly railways". It is also about a turning point in the perception of the railway in Germany. "This is the largest investment and growth program in over 180 years of railway history," said Lutz.
"First and foremost is the commitment of politicians to massively strengthen rail infrastructure," said DB Infrastructure Board member Ronald Pofalla. "This is especially important because the rail network is the backbone of the mobility turnaround." Without massive investment in rail, the mobility turnaround would fail.
Additional equity, lower VAT and increased federal funds
From 2020 to 2030, the railway is to receive additional equity of one billion euros per year, according to the decisions of the Climate Cabinet. By the end of 2030, this will add up to eleven billion euros, which should flow into the modernization and expansion of the rail system.
In addition, the VAT rate for long-distance tickets from 19 to 7 percent decrease. This makes rail travel cheaper by ten percent. According to Bahn super-saver prices will be available in the future from 17.90 euros instead of currently 19.90 euros. 13.40 should be it with train card discount. This is reportedly the lowest regular entry price since the railway reform in 1994.
The railway also referred to the significant increase in federal funds for public transport. The government intends to increase federal funds under the Municipal Transport Financing Act (GVFG) from 2025 to two billion euros per year. The coalition agreement already anchored an increase to one billion euros per year from 2021 onwards. A large part of this will benefit the development of local transport systems and the corresponding rail infrastructure in the metropolitan regions, according to Deutsche Bahn. In addition, the heads of the German government had agreed to strengthen freight transport by rail and thus make these transports faster and more attractive.
A panel called "The Voice of Passengers" proposes to the VZBV
The Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV) said that low-cost train tickets alone would not make people move to train. "The railway has not only a capacity and reliability problem, but also a quality that leaves much to be desired," said the head of the mobility and travel team at the Federal Association, Marion Jungbluth, the Handelsblatt .
The Federal Government's Climate Package plans to invest billions in rail investment to increase the attractiveness of rail passenger transport. However, these would "only work in decades and probably not be enough to motivate consumers to change trains," says Jungbluth. It must therefore be ensured "that the massive investments lead to an offer and quality that convince users and non-users."
Jungbluth encouraged the creation of a body that, as the "voice of the passengers", should help orienting rail services and service more closely to consumer wishes. "The Federal Government should encourage the establishment of an institutional passenger representation, which checks the targeted use of funds by means of independent quality reports," the VZBV expert suggested