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Cheap ticket an opportunity for urban planning. Can the German solution be replicated in Poland?

24 of May '22

Is a cheap monthly nationwide ticket for urban and regional transportation an idea that will solve some of Poland's urban and transportation problems? Germany is the first to test a cheap ticket for just €9. According to Dr. Michal Beim, a transport and communications expert, such a promotion makes great sense, but we are not yet infrastructurally prepared for it.

The spectacular promotion in Germany has been in the news for several days. There, for three months (June, July, August), you will be able to use a monthly ticket for 9 euros, which will allow you to move throughout the country on urban, agglomeration and regional transportation (long-distance Inter- and Eurocity trains, night trains and private trains: Flixtrain are not included in the promotion). Foreigners can also take advantage of the promotion. In this way, the German authorities want to promote moving by public transport nationwide and - at the same time - bring about a reduction in the demand for fuel (for economic and political reasons: the war in Ukraine). The cost of the action burdening the federal budget will be 2.5 billion euros.

experimental advantages

The determination must be considerable, because such a favorable promotion of public transportation has not yet been seen in Germany. If the action is successful and some citizens switch to streetcars, buses and regional trains, great relief will be felt by residents of large cities and conurbations with perpetually congested routes and streets. Greenhouse gas emissions, noise and pollution levels will fall. Ultimately, the pressure to build new roads or widen existing ones may decrease. From the point of view of rational urban planning and city planning - the very pluses.

Is this a way with which the transportation problems of Polish cities and regions could be solved? The action is commented on by Dr. Michal Beim, a transport specialist from Poznan University of Life Sciences:

The Germans make no secret of the fact that this is an experiment, not a final solution. It is no coincidence that they chose the summer months to test the potential of less popular connections and not to overload those that are already heavily loaded. It is therefore a kind of opinion poll.

Beim believes that a ticket for such a low amount as 9 euros will not last, while a ticket for around 50 euros is conceivable in the German reality - that is, at the price of the monthly tickets that exist today, enriched with numerous extras that allow one to travel on regional railroads, for example.

lack of connections

Should we in Poland emulate the German solution? Dr. Beim explains:

I think that even at a similar price reaching about 140 PLN, such a ticket would find many amateurs. Instead, we would certainly have a much bigger problem with the implementation of this kind of promotion. In the overwhelming number of centers and regions, there is a lack of tariff integration of different carriers. In Germany, most of the country is served by well-functioning transport associations.

Beim adds that a ticket on the German model would be attractive in our country primarily outside the large centers. This is because regional connections are relatively much more expensive in our country than transportation in large cities. There is another problem. Even the best ticket promotion will not solve the problem of lack of connections. Recall: transport exclusion, i.e. a situation where a city or region is not served at all by public transportation, affects about one-fifth of Polish territory.

And changing this situation should be a priority ," comments Beim. - And promoting existing and new connections is a sensible next step.

Jakub Głaz

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