Rail ticket prices went down yesterday

No, not in the UK where they generally went up by 2.7% in spite of British trains’ poor timekeeping, but in Germany, where all long distance fares have gone down by 10%.

In this way, more people should travel by train and the climate should be protected. … The reason is the federal government’s new climate policy. Specifically: the coalition’s climate package. In order for more people to travel by train instead of the climate-damaging car or plane, the federal government has decided to reduce VAT from 19 to 7 percent for long-distance tickets. The railways want to pass this on to customers in full.

And no, I wasn’t aware that Germany had VAT on its rail tickets either.

Goodness knows what the price of British train tickets, already the most expensive in Europe, would have to be in that case.

But how refreshing that one government – even a fairly neoliberal one – realises that cheaper train travel is part of the environmental solution.

Our own seems to consider that a fare increase ‘for investment’ is the solution.

Of course if Arriva, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn (itself controlling 99% of the German rail network) gets your fare income it may well be used for investment – but with scant likelihood it will actually be in Britain.

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