Our Addiction to Cars and Roads
Recently I have been traveling quite a bit in Germany. Mostly visiting friends and some work-related trips. Although I have a car, I prefer riding the train whenever I can.
It is more convenient for me in many aspects. Less stressful, ability to work or read something, the environmental impact, and in some cases also the financial aspect of using public transport is nice.
Although public transport, when done right, can be a great investment for governments, it seems that the Dutch government (where I live), doesn't seem to be interested. At least not enough in my view!
Of course, our public transport works, but in comparison with money invested in roads and car transport infrastructure, we are doing it wrong. In 2019, the Dutch government invested about 11 billion euros in transport. At least 60% of this investment went straight into roads and tarmac.
Meanwhile, in Luxembourg, public transport has been free since 2020. Recently, although the prime underlying reason was different, Germany has been experimenting with a flat rate for public transport. For a period of three months, regional trains (and some busses) could be used for a flat-rate ticket costing just 9 Euro.
I think, especially with the increasing climate change urgency, it is time that we (and with we I mean society as a whole) reevaluate how we invest in transportation. Not to mention air travel and the utopia that is called the electric car.
How are (public) transport and government investment in transport organized in your country? Is it free like in Luxembourg, or is it more like in the Netherlands?