In a letter to EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella, three ministers wrote: “We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars.” Hoping to pilot the trial by the end of the year, the ministers continued: “Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany.”
The proposal will be tested by five cities in western Germany, including Bonn (considered the country’s second capital), as well as the industrial cities of Essen and Mannheim. In addition to free public transportation, the ministers also proposed further restrictions on emissions from buses and taxis, implementation of low-emissions zones, and a bolstering of car-sharing programs.
The plan is as urgent as ever, as Germany and eight other EU countries including France, Spain, and Italy failed to meet a January 30 deadline limiting nitrogen dioxide and fine particles. The environment commissioner has given them extra time to meet their targets. For more, head to The Guardian.