Germany mulls free transit to fight pollution

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A light rail trainset pauses outside the main train station in Dresden, Germany, in 2015. German officials are considering making public transit free, beginning with the nation's five most pollution-plagued cities.
TRAINS: David Lassen

BERLIN — In an effort to address pollution by cutting car usage, Germany is considering making public transit free, starting with the cities with the worst pollution issues.

The concept was included in a letter the German government sent to European Union officials and reported by a number of media outlets. Germany and eight other countries face EU legal action and fines for exceeding the union’s air pollution standards.

The German plan would make initially make public transit free in the country’s five most polluted cities: Bonn, Essen, Reutlingen, Mannheim, and Herrenberg, according to a Deutsche Welle report.

A number of questions remain before such plans could be implemented, primarily regarding how transit agencies would replace the funds they receive from fares. There are also concerns about how transit systems could handle increased ridership; an official in Bonn told the news outlet that the city would need to expand its bus fleet, and questioned whether manufacturers could meet the sudden increase in demand.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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