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Local public transport in Germany is indispensable, in particular in conurbations. Source: Colourbox / 14058143

Well-connected by bus and rail

Local public transport

Live in the country, work in the city centre, and the car stays in the garage – this is a dream for many people. Local public transport has an important function to perform in linking rural areas to urban centres and in ensuring mobility in the countryside. In conurbations, local public transport is indispensable for our daily mobility. In order to ensure that you continue to receive a high-quality range of public transport services, the Federal Government is supporting the federal states and local authorities in financing these services and is promoting numerous innovative developments.

Bundesminister Alexander Dobrindt (Quelle: Bundesregierung / Kugler)
Bundesminister Alexander Dobrindt

Source: Bundesregierung / Kugler

Local public transport needs to be attractive, safe, reliable and affordable.

Alexander Dobrindt, Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Background

The societal significance of local public transport

Local public transport is very important for getting from A to B in a flexible manner in your everyday life. Each day, around 30 million passengers use local public transport. For them, the attractiveness of buses and trains not only depends on the degree of comfort they offer. The link quality and the convenience of getting timetable information and buying tickets are also particularly important to passengers. Public transport in Germany guarantees mobility and ensures independence from one’s own car and from car-sharing schemes. The quality of local public transport affects our decisions on where we work, where we live and where we shop. It contributes to improved road safety, a better environment and affordable mobility – and thus has a positive impact on our quality of life.

The ecological significance of local public transport

Increasing congestion on the roads as well as noise and air pollution by cars are getting on our nerves and stressing us every day. Compared with private motorized transport, the advantages of local public transport are obvious: considerably more people can ride in a single vehicle, and less surface needs to be asphalted. Moreover, specific energy consumption and pollutant emissions per passenger are much lower than with private motorized transport. Well-developed local public transport is an attractive and environmentally sound alternative to many journeys that are otherwise often made by car.

The economic significance of local public transport

Local public transport is also of substantial economic importance. It helps millions of commuters get to their destinations every day without congestion – and thus without requiring additional time or energy. What is more, transport operators and integrated transport authorities are an important employment factor. In Germany, there are approximately 75 integrated transport authorities; the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) alone comprises about 450 local public transport companies. Calculations indicate that just under 400,000 permanently secure jobs result directly or indirectly from local public transport services.

Among other things, the Federal Government provides financial assistance for the construction of central and modern bus and coach terminals. Source: Fotolia / Jürgen Fälchle

Funding of local public transport by the Federal Government

Federal Government invests record sums

Anyone who takes the metro or bus buys a ticket. The revenues from the ticket sales, however, are not sufficient for the operation of local public transport to break even. Actually, a little less than half of the funds spent on local public transport in Germany stem from the money you pay for tickets. For this reason, the public sector contributes to the funding. The federal states and local authorities are primarily responsible for planning, organizing and funding urban and regional transport. However, the Federal Government is currently providing almost nine billion euros to the federal states so that they can continue to ensure an attractive range of public transport services. Federal Government funding particularly benefits local passenger rail services, that is rapid transit, local trains, regional trains and regional express trains. With its funding, the Federal Government also helps to ensure high-quality local public transport throughout Germany.

With e-ticketing, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is promoting cashless payment for bus and train journeys. Source: Fotolia / weedezign

Initiative for digital connectivity in public transport

Obtain information. Book. Pay. Travel.

People want to travel freely from A to B by public transport. Due to the federal structure of Germany, local public transport, in particular, is structured along regional lines and thus differs from federal state to federal state and from city to city. For this reason, you often reach the limits of integrated transport authorities, and also your own limits: seamless timetable information and tickets are still scarce. Passengers, however, wish for easier access to a mix of different transport services. To improve the interconnection of these services across the borders of federal states and of areas covered by integrated transport authorities, the Federal Ministry of Transport has launched an initiative for digital connectivity in public transport. The adoption of a roadmap outlining the action required, the necessary steps and the corresponding responsibilities for digitally interconnected local public transport was an initial milestone. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is also financially supporting the implementation of the roadmap by co-financing relevant funding projects. 

Travel without cash

You have undoubtedly experienced a situation like this: you want to buy a ticket, but you do not have the right change for the ticket vending machine. Or you do not know which fare applies to you. This can no longer happen with an eTicket. Because with an electronic ticket, you can ride the bus or train without cash. These digital tickets can be saved on both smart cards and smartphones.

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is supporting the introduction of an interoperable (((eTicket Deutschland and has provided financial assistance to numerous projects in this context. The introduction of electronic tickets in Germany is progressing and has evolved very dynamically due to the assistance provided by the Federal Government. In the meantime, almost 350 transport operators have signed an agreement on participation in the (((eTicket Deutschland scheme and have so far issued over 12 million smartcards to their customers on the basis of the common standard.