How Germany makes the transition to a carbon neutral economy is becoming a major topic in the election campaign for September’s Bundestag election. The extent to which banning or stopping certain behaviours is legitimate, or whether persuading people to change their behaviour is a better route, is a central issue.
Transport Minister in Baden-Württemberg Winfried Hermann is the latest politician to enter the debate. “At the moment the train is not always a viable alternative” he said in a report on the German-language railway blog Bahnblogstelle. He goes on to say that journeys of six or seven hours are not really an option for most people by train, and that people need to be persuaded to take the greener option and not forced to change.
We agree with the gist of Hermann’s comments, and see night trains as part of the solution for those longer trips – and Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg is one of the cities that would profit as it is poorly connected by night train services at the moment. And one of the ideas as to how to organise night trains Europe-wide… comes from Baden-Württemberg.
Some stats also back up the gist of what Hermann says. France’s ban on flights of under two and a half hours – a proposal that received massive media coverage – will reduce annual journeys by plane by 2.7 million trips. Meanwhile Germany’s plan to better connect airports with the railway network – to avoid the need for connecting flights – will get 4.3 million journeys onto the rails instead.
The carrot might work better than the stick.
Photos used in this post