Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Diesel Deutschland and the New Patchwork

So, it's a done deal....the German Federal Administrative Court issued the standing....German cities can impose driving bans on diesel cars for air pollution control. 

Some slight barriers are in place.

The idea of entire states having diesel bans?  Rejected.

The judges noted that any driving ban.....must be 'proportionately designed and implemented'.  Then the court said in a clear fashion that the two cities in question....Dusseldorf and Stuttgart....have to examine their air quality plans on a continual and proportional basis. What's that mean?  Some people suggest that the entire urban area of each city.....is not what is being discussed....it's the main avenues where the particle issue is most noted. 

The court then said that a period of transition must exist.

Right now....for Stuttgart....this ban cannot start before 1 September 2018.

Then the court added a little twist....the city has no requirement existing to compensate anyone, period.  So if you had a car and you are forbidden from entry.....tough luck.

What happens now?  It's mostly a lot of worries for the city planners, the urban transportation folks, and the general public who own diesel vehicles, and those who have to travel already on mass transit.

My general take on the problem is that the city leadership of both Dusseldorf and Stuttgart is now sitting there with a bunch of poker cards and they all mean some massive screw-up coming by the end of 2018. 

First, just to say a ban starts on some day....like 1 November...in Stuttgart....means that anywhere between 250,000 and 350,000 diesel cars are forbidden.  Where do you park along the autobahn or roads leading into the city....to catch mass transit?  If there aren't enough parking lots to accommodate vehicles....how many months or years will it take to create such parking lots?

Second, those who live in the city and needed to travel elsewhere?  Generally, you can't drive it in the city.  Will you have to park it in some outer boundary area and travel to the car by tram or bus?

Third, can your transit system even handle a 50-to-100 percent growth period in a matter of six months?  I can't think of a single city in Germany capable of doing that.  Most would require a minimum of three years....maybe five years.

Fourth, is this all a poker game by the Berlin-leadership to really make the leaders of Stuttgart and Dusseldorf look bad?  It really wouldn't surprise me.

Fifth, massive anger by people and the refusal to buy within Stuttgart or Dusseldorf?  This wouldn't surprise me.  A boycott is entirely possible.

Sixth, the real pain here?  If you were a company headquarters in Stuttgart or Dusseldorf, and 25-percent of your work-force are diesel drivers....will you consider removing your structure from the city and placing 20 kilometers outside of town?

Seventh, the real cost to the public?  My humble guess is that in the first year alone....just on the personal level....it'll be a tremendous amount of money involved to make this work in a marginal fashion. 

The EU created this monster....the German public will now get stuck in dealing with it. My guess is for the remainder of 2018....this now becomes the number one issue for the country, and little can be done by Berlin to relieve or fix this.

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