ARCHIV - Claus Weselsky, Vorsitzender der Lokführergewerkschaft GDL, spricht am 08.05.2015 mit Journalisten und Lokführern vor dem Hauptbahnhof in Leipzig (Sachsen). (zu dpa «Lokführergewerkschaft ruft Schlichtung in Tarifkonflikt an» vom 23.12.2016) Foto: Lukas Schulze/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

A simple, inexpensive ticket that is valid nationwide for all public transport – that’s a sensation at first. So far, each transport association has cooked its own soup, the passengers had to penetrate the jungle of tariffs. However, the pilot project was unsuccessful: the rush, especially on the railways, revealed the shortcomings of the broken railway system and led to even more unpunctuality and unreliability.

E-mobility, transport policy and future mobility: the briefing on transport and smart mobility. For decision makers

Too many people suddenly used the railways. Some commuters could no longer find a place and were put off instead of pulling more of them into public transport. The trains, which were already heavily used, and the railway workers, who were already heavily burdened, were additionally burdened. We can’t cope with such an onslaught in the long run. We don’t have the infrastructure or the staff to do it.

The nine euro ticket is too cheap. We act as if local rail transport is available almost for free. A fatal mistake. The value of local transport must be reflected in a monthly price. The Association of German Transport Companies has demanded a nationwide ticket for 69 euros. That’s a reasonable price, which is much cheaper than private transport. For people who cannot afford it, politicians must think about it and, if necessary, introduce a subsidy scheme, but only for them.

Passengers want to get from A to B safely, punctually and reliably. However, bridges and tracks are dilapidated and the area is dependent on the infrastructure. Instead, the funds were sunk into non-multiple-use high-speed routes and other prestige objects. In addition, rail management in Germany has been the best thing in the world for decades for rail management. Billions of taxpayers’ money flowed abroad and into non-rail activities. Apparently, this is slowly dawning on politics as well.

So that money is no longer invested in prestige objects or silted up abroad, and so that anti-competitive cross-subsidies are no longer applied, we must push through a second railway reform: the subsidiaries DB Netz and Station

We also have to ensure long-term investments and perspectives for the construction measures via an infrastructure fund. It will take decades to bring the rail system into shape. Planning engineers, craftsmen and building permits are currently lacking. And the funds planned for the investments are not enough either.

The better the track gets, the more customers can use it with satisfaction. Without rail, there can be no modal shift away from the congested roads – with all the problems of climate change. That’s where we have to go, but we mustn’t permanently overload the rail system and the railway workers.