UCF Global Perspectives


Free Public Transportation to Reduce Air Pollution?

Stacy Erikson, Alexandra Cousteau Environment and Global Climate Change Fellow

February 15, 2018

In January, the EU announced it would be tougher on air quality breaches in 2018 (EU observer). The EU may take legal action against Germany because of air pollution in some German cities (Reuters). In a letter to the EU Environment Commissioner, the German Environment Minister mentioned considering free public transportation in cities struggling with air quality limits (Reuters). The logic is that free public transportation will reduce the number of people opting to take cars instead. Other steps mentioned in the letter include low-emission zones, incentives for using electric cars and possibly technical retrofitting for existing vehicles (Reuters).

Following the news of the proposition for free public transportation, reporters questioned how ticketless transportation would be funded and which towns would be the test subjects (Local). The government responded that there were no concrete plans yet. According to Bonn’s mayor, Ashok Sridharan, free transportation could bring an influx of passengers that rendering the current system insufficient (Guardian). Without more details, the potential cost of network expansions looms over German municipalities and taxpayers (Washington Post).








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