Since 2013.....long-distance bus travel has been authorized in Germany. Most Germans would say that it's been somewhat successful. Some companies have entered the market and failed.....some have gone on to profit.
This past week.....the state prime minister of Thuringia (Bodo Ramelow), a Linke Party member....stood up and noted that it's now time to press for a toll for the long distance buses.
The logic? I sat and read through his short commentary. He believes that there should be a fair balance between the various modes of transportation. His discussion was that the buses were neither ecologically or transport policy....going in the right direction.
Most everyone will agree that the buslines have carved out a fair chunk of the train business. You don't hear numbers but if you just look around Frankfurt's central point, there's probably two or three thousand travelers who leave Frankfurt daily now....on a bus rather than a train.
Most people would point out that the buses already pay a fuel tax so it doesn't make much sense to create another secondary tax. And if you did create a tax to reshape the fare on buses.....where there was no difference in cost between train or bus travel.....why would anyone travel via a bus?
The money collected via this tax? That was a curious part to the story. He wanted the tax on buses to help fund regional and local train travel within each state. So a bus-rider would help to fund train-rider's comforts. It's a comical discussion once you admit that's the chief purpose behind the tax.
The expectation for bus travel in Germany? There's a belief that it'll jump by twenty-five percent over the next year and has yet to hit some peak.
The bus toll discussion? Other than getting headlines for one single day....I don't see this going anywhere.