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S-Bahn, trains and buses: Germany to inject an extra €1.2 billion into public transport

As part of the climate package, government subsidies for public rail and bus transport are to be increased over the next four years. Will it encourage more people to ditch their car?

S-Bahn, trains and buses: Germany to inject an extra €1.2 billion into public transport
Commuters board an S-Bahn at Cologne main station. Photo: DPA

Germany wants to increase subsidies for public transport more than planned in a bid to lure people away from their private cars in the fight against climate change.

The Finance Ministry told Spiegel it is planning to increase so-called regionalization funds. This money mainly finances the operation of regional and S-bahn networks, but in some cases, also the operation of public buses. Small portions of these funds are also used to buy new trains or build new railway lines.

The funds are to be increased by €150 million in 2020, and by €300 million in both 2021 and 2022. An additional €450 million is to be ploughed into public transport in 2023.

The cash injections will compliment other planned increases, the Ministry said.

READ ALSO: Revealed – Germany's most expensive (and cheapest) cities for public transport

The current regionalization laws already provide for the annual financial volume of around €8.6 billion to go up by 1.8 percent on the previous year's figure up until 2031. Compared to the existing budget, the newly planned increase is therefore relatively small.

However, it's still been welcomed by groups. The Pro-Rail Alliance lobby organization, which advocates for a higher market share for rail transport in freight and passenger transport, welcomed the plans .

“The federal government wants to double the number of passengers in local and long-distance transport by 2030,” said Dirk Flege, managing director of the transport alliance. “The additional funds are a step in this direction.”

Climate package becomes more concrete

The promotion of local transport is one aspect of the government's climate plan. In the package, the state announced its intention to make alternatives to flying and driving cars.

READ ALSO: Why you will soon pay more for short-haul flights in Germany

The Federal Government's Climate Protection Act is gathering speed. According to insiders it will be introduced into the Bundestag next week, with the aim to pass the law before the SPD party conference in December.

Vocabulary

Climate package – das Klimapaket

Federal Finance Ministry – das Bundesfinanzministerium

Rail and bus transport – (die) Schienen und (der) Busverkehr

Welcomed the plans – begrüßte die Pläne

A step in this direction – ein Schritt in diese Richtung

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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ENVIRONMENT

English-speaking churches in France launch climate campaign

English-speaking churches in France and across Europe have launched a massive environmental campaign ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next month.  

A chimney belches out smoke as a haze of pollution hangs over the city of Lyon in southeast France
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

The European Interfaith Climate Campaign is intended to promote ‘rapid, transformative change to avert climate catastrophe’. 

The American Church in Paris, Quakers of France, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris, the American International Church in London, and 0.6 Planet have teamed up to ‘work together to shed light on the systemic and structural issues blocking a sustainable future and climate justice for all people’, the group said in a statement.

Events taking place at the American Church in Paris include:

  • Climate Sunday-themed services on October 31st at 11am and 2pm
  • Children attending the church are creating “prayer boats” to go to COP26.
  • The founder of 0.6 Planet, Monica Bassett, will headline at a Zoom event on November 2nd between 7.30pm and 9pm to discuss her new life in a French ecovillage in the Dordogne, where she has drastically cut her consumption and carbon footprint.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris has a full programme as well:

  • Six Eco-Weeks Challenges and online conversations on Thursday evenings: from October 4th to November 12th.
  • Climate Sunday Service: in-person & live-streamed on October 17th, at 10:30am: “A Call for Change” (intergenerational focus)
  • Virtual Watch Party on Sunday, October 24th, at 11 am: “The Wisdom to Survive” documentary, followed by a on discussion: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/wisdomtosurvive
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