German Cities Refuse to Launch Free Public Transport
Five cities in Germany did not approve the idea of providing free public transport to improve air quality, calling it unrealistic, DPA reported.
Berlin is under pressure to meet European air cleanliness standards and to avoid fines.
No municipality offered free fully public local transport, Bonn Mayor Ashok Sridharan said after discussions between the five cities and the ministry of the environment.
The five cities where the plan was to be tested are Bonn and Essen in North Rhine-Westphalia, and Mannheim, Reutlingen and Herrenberg in the Baden-Württemberg province.
Asked whether the idea could be tested in at least one city, Sridharan replied: "I think this is quite unrealistic."
Air pollution levels set by the EU are still exceeded in nearly 70 German cities, the most affected being Munich, Stuttgart and Cologne, according to an official report. The five cities, however, promised by mid-March to submit proposals to the Ministry of the Environment on how to improve the air.
The main goal is to make people driving diesel-powered vehicles to use public transport, said Reitlingen Mayor Barbara Bosch.
A spokesman for the ministry specified that the idea of free public transport has not yet been deleted from the agenda.
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